Automated metering equipment was installed at the homes of most PUD water customers late in 2006. This equipment improves safety for meter readers, improves the accuracy of meter reads, and helps with leak detection.
In the past, water consumption had been estimated during the winter because snow made it hard to reach the underground vaults where water meters are located. Automated meter reading has eliminated the need for estimates. And it has improved the safety for meter readers who no longer have to lift heavy vault lids and deal with ice and debris.
The new meters are more accurate than the meters they replaced, some of which were 10 years old or older. That led some customers to believe they are using more water, when actually their use is just being measured more accurately.
Water leaks do occur, however, and one big advantage to automated meter reading is early leak detection. If an excessive amount of water flows through a meter, an alarm will alert system operators to a potential problem.
Conversion of the electric system to automated meter reading is planned within the next several years.