The City of Hinesville is proud to be the first city in the state of Georgia to roll out the the Advanced Water Metering Infrastructure that includes a convenient customer portal.
About the Advanced Water Metering System
The City of Hinesville Water Department’s goal is to provide our customers with a reliable source of high quality water at a reasonable cost for public health, sanitation and fire protection purposes through continual evaluations of utility assets, effective preventative maintenance programs and efficient daily operations.
As part of this ongoing commitment to our customers, the City of Hinesville Water Department is transitioning from a manual water meter reading system to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) System that provides automatic meter reading capabilities and more accurate and responsive water consumption information to assist the City and customers in managing water use efficiency.
Sensus iPERL Composite Meters
The Sensus iPERL water meter provides technologically unprecedented low flow accuracy with high flow durability. Innovative magnetic technology allows for the capture of previously unmeasured low flows. With no moving parts, the iPERL requires no additional maintenance and is resistant to wear, retaining its accuracy over a 20-year lifetime.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Benefits
• Provides highly accurate data collection which decreases the possibility of incorrect meter readings.
• Allows staff to provide customers with timely information on water usage and cost.
• Identifies water leaks in a timely manner, reducing wasted water and helping to prevent water bill increases due to leaks.
• Reads meters multiple times a day, instead of once every other month.
• Allows customer service representatives to initiate new accounts, close existing accounts and address billing questions far more quickly and efficiently.
• Transmits information from water meters using low-power radio signals without staff having to open meter boxes or step onto a customer's property.
• Provides an online Water Customer Portal so customers can monitor and manage their water usage.
1. What is AMI?
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems consist of small, low-power radio transmitters connected to individual water meters that send readings to a network of receivers throughout the system. These receivers provide all relevant billing information and eliminate the need for water meter readers to visit your property on a regular basis.
2. Why AMI?
The City of Hinesville used to spend a great deal of time and manpower reading water meters for purposes of normal usage, read-ins/outs and bill/payment resolution. The old method of obtaining reads involved several employees, multiple paper processes, fuel and manual data entry. The timeliness of the reads was also a factor; normal reads were obtained every 30 days. The new AMI system allows the City to remotely monitor the meters on a daily basis.
3. Why was the metering system changed?
The water metering system was upgraded as part of the City of Hinesville’s efforts to continually improve our water system. The new automated system is more efficient, accurate and cost-effective than manual meter reading.
4. What are the benefits of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system?
• The AMI system reduces operating costs for meter reading and billing, and improves customer service. The direct benefits to the City and its customers include:
• Highly accurate data collection which decreases the possibility of incorrect meter readings.
• Timely information on water usage and cost that allows staff to provide better customer service.
• Timely identification of water leaks which reduces water waste and increased water bills due to leaks.
• Multiple meter reads daily, instead of once every other month.
• Quicker and more efficient customer service, including initiating new accounts, closing existing accounts and addressing billing questions.
• Transmission of information from water meters using low-power radio signals without staff having to open meter boxes or step onto a customer's property.
• Online access to the Water Customer Portal so customers can monitor and manage their water usage. To learn more about online access, click Water Customer Portal.
5. How does it work?
A small unit is installed in the lid above the water meter. It is connected to the water meter and transmits a low-power radio signal to a data collector which relays the information to the City’s Water Department billing office.
6. How will I know my bill is accurate?
The AMI system ensures that customers are billed based on their actual water consumption. The City of Hinesville maintains a staff of quality assurance professionals to ensure the accuracy of your bill.
7. What information is transmitted, and is my account information secure?
The AMI system only transmits the water meter readings, the meter identification number and diagnostic information to verify that the advanced meter equipment is operating correctly. Personal customer information is not transmitted. For additional security, the data is encrypted and transmitted over a privately licensed radio frequency channel.
8. Will the AMI device's radio signals affect the operation of other electronic devices in my home?
No. The radio frequency by which the AMI operates is a designated frequency secured with a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license for the City of Hinesville’s exclusive use.
9. Are there any potential health concerns with the radio signals?
No. The meters only send out signals for a few seconds at a time, several times a day, so they are not always transmitting. The radio frequency that is transmitted is 6,000 -12,000 times weaker than that of a microwave oven, wireless router or laptop computer (at less than a distance of 1 meter); 18,000 – 6,000,000 times weaker than that of a cell phone (at one’s head); and 300,000 – 25,000,000 times weaker than that of a walkie-talkie (at one’s head). Due to the distance at which the radio frequency energy is typically transmitted, exposure is very low, much like that of AM or FM radio broadcast signals. Exact measurements and research can be read online.
10. Is the AMI technology safe?
Yes. AMI technology is safer than cellphones, laptops, blue tooth devices and similar equipment.
11. Can I view my water usage online?
Yes. Customers can use the Water Customer Portal, located on the Water Department's page, to view their water consumption data and sign up to receive email alerts. The portal is updated nightly so customers can view up-to-date data regarding their hourly, daily, weekly and monthly water usage and use the information to identify potential problems, manage their water use and aid in water conservation efforts. Click the following link to learn more about the Water Customer Portal.