Wareham Fire District Warrant Article No. 20 Automatic Meter Reading System

By District Water Superintendent | Mar 25, 2018
Wareham Fire District Automatic Meter Reading Warrant Article No. 20

The District recognizes that taking meter readings for billing purposes once every 6 months can cause a hardship for patrons, particularly if there is a leak, and is no longer a standard in the water industry.  The District committees have voted to place Warrant Article 20: Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) on the agenda for District meeting for the following reasons:

  1. Provides a portal on the web for the individual consumer to monitor their water usage and water bill almost instantaneously. Residents that use water for purposes such as irrigation can better gauge their use and conservation efforts.
  2. Allows early warning alarm sent to customer for high water usage.  The current system allows up to six months of water to be consumed before a leak or other event is reported to a consumer.  Recently there was a resident receiving a $6,000 bill due to a water leak. With AMR, residents can elect to receive early notice regarding the leak or high-water usage via a preferred communication method and prevent a high-water bill.
  3. Allows more frequent, smaller bills compared to larger 6-month billing

-Currently the estimated water bill for 5,000 cubic feet (37,400 gallons) of water usage is ~$293 over a six-month period.  AMR will allow the billing to be broken up quarterly or even monthly.  For a quarterly bill, the amount would be just over $146.50 and for monthly the water bill would be just under $49.

-The Water Department is asking for approval of a $2.5M bond which would allow for the installation of the system.  This bond is over a 10-year period, would cost $24/billing, and is included in the $293 water bill example above.

4. The present system is entirely manual, requiring entry to the property at least twice a year to obtain a water reading. This system lessens the frequency the Water Department is required to entry your property.

5.  Allows water to be less expensive over time:

-Lessens the purloining of water.

-Positions the Water Department to better find leaks in the Distribution System.

Stop by the Water Superintendent's office to discuss.

Comments (9)
Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 25, 2018 19:07

So I can be sure my math and understanding are correct, the $24/billing you mentioned is for a 6 month billing cycle? Therefore total annual cost to all rate payers would be $48? Or would rate payers who use more than the 5000 cubic feet per six month billing cycle pay more than the annual $48, based upon their total cubic foot consumption? If pay more, is there a formula by which higher consumption rate payers can estimate the annual cost increase based upon their water consumption?

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 26, 2018 07:43

Not a penny more for this bunch. Water bills and this crowd are out of control with this non stop spending. Time to do away with this bunch and do away with the district system.

Posted by: District Water Superintendent | Mar 27, 2018 11:09


You are correct, it is based on water consumption.  The rate is $0.4895 per 100 cubic feet of water (~ 750 gallons). And yes it is a 6 month billing period.

Posted by: Phredzzz | Mar 29, 2018 16:12

Why not offer the water users an option of a One-time purchase and ownership of their own Mechanized Meter Reader device? I think; if given the option, I would prefer to buy and own my own instead of $24 times Two, Times Ten Years, which equals a payment of $480 which may or may-not be a completely accurate estimate!!

Posted by: District Water Superintendent | Mar 30, 2018 07:46

PHREDZZZ, it is a good suggestion.  Something you should bring to the District meeting floor.

Posted by: baron1701@yahoo.com | Mar 30, 2018 15:09

OMG the bal*s to ask for more money now after unilaterally raising rates as much as they did. Do away with the district system. I moved here to be able to raise my family in single family housing and not in 40b housing. With all these increases - I'm beginning to think that the goal is to erase the lower middle class and place them in housing - dependent on the state.

Posted by: Phredzzz | Mar 30, 2018 15:20

To the District Water Superintendent: I have a problem with public speaking, so you can consider this POST as my way of giving permission to ANYONE who wants to press forward with a Purchase Option and can somehow manage to get the job done. I think we already are paying the salary's of enough people who should be doing the right thing when it comes to implementing economical choices as to how our Water Meters Read, Monitor, and Record the consumption of H2O in our hometown of Wareham.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Mar 30, 2018 21:22

Would the proposed Automatic Meter Reader System require new meter reading equipment to be installed in all homes?


Or is the Automatic Meter Reader System a contracted computer program with a variety of options available to rate payers, among them (but not limited to): personally submitting readings taken from currently installed water meters, choosing how often they are billed, and signing up for high consumption warning notices?

Posted by: District Water Superintendent | Apr 02, 2018 10:50

Andrea, the AMR will be able to use the iPearl meters (these are the plastic water meters).  The only change to these meters is an adaption to the head (e.g. top ) of the meter electronics,.  Meters which are metal are likely not adaptable and are likely over 10 years old and are on our near term replacement schedule currently.  We would then have a system would would input the meter readings directly into our billing software.

The system will allow users to have more control of their water use by seeing their consumption in near real time by logging onto their account on the web.  Warnings and notices also could be sent to you based on the settings you select.  Depending on the system which is implemented (driveby collection or signal sent to a central location), the data can be obtained either by radio or cellular communication.  Neither the customer would have to take readings nor would the District have to send a person to obtain the readings on your property. The Data would be sent directly to the Water Department with limited people power to collect the data.  Right now I have ~1.5 people working full time to collect this information all year long.

Unfortunately choosing when you receive a bill would not be an option. That would be difficult to do with the currently billing system.  The billing would have been on a set schedule (monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, etc.)

I have attached a few links so that you can learn more.






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