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Smart Water Meters

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Detritus » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:34 am

So much of the furor over "e-pollution" comes down to not taking the power law into account--or not understanding it. New Age notions of "power" and "the body's electric fields" do not help either....
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:39 am

Detritus wrote:New Age notions of "power" and "the body's electric fields" do not help either....

OMG OMG what will these so-called "smart" meters do to my daily magnets-and-crystals regimen??!?!!?!
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby evansvillehousewife » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:55 am

Ah , WestSideYuppie.

Facts and figures to throw some reason and assurance into the mix. Your science is much appreciated.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby eriedasch » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:59 am

fennel wrote:I think the City wants to move to a monthly billing cycle, and that they would never otherwise pursue installing the new meters. Anyone can have a look at their own meter if they're really that curious about day-to-day fluctuations.

I'm fine with the new technology, but having trouble understanding how 12 water bills per year is better than 2?

Maybe a few more people will switch to online or autopay, but I still see 10 more paper bills being sent via snail mail to many thousands of households.

What am I missing?
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby christopher_robin » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:11 am

You're missing the profit motive.

There is no federal or state legal mandate to deploy them. So why are they being deployed?

What do you think the business case for smart meters is?
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby fennel » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:14 am

eriedasch wrote:
fennel wrote:I think the City wants to move to a monthly billing cycle, and that they would never otherwise pursue installing the new meters. Anyone can have a look at their own meter if they're really that curious about day-to-day fluctuations.

I'm fine with the new technology, but having trouble understanding how 12 water bills per year is better than 2?

Maybe a few more people will switch to online or autopay, but I still see 10 more paper bills being sent via snail mail to many thousands of households.

What am I missing?
It's just about cash flow for the City vs. transaction costs for residents. It's a big up-front investment just to increase cash flow. Seems silly.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:40 pm

. Total daily transmission time is less than 15 seconds
and the battery-powered units turn off when they are not transmitting data.


http://www.cityofmadison.com/water/prog ... tSheet.pdf

We're doomed. I hope they can tell me when that 15 seconds is so I can put on my lead jacket.

fennel wrote:It's a big up-front investment just to increase cash flow. Seems silly.


Won't it save the city money? Isn't that a good thing?
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:05 pm

One part is cash flow, the other part is saving water (and hence money). If your toilet or pipes develop some small, slow leak (where you don't notice pools of water) but ends up being hundreds of gallons a month, you'll know it sooner on a monthly billing cycle as opposed to if it happened one day after your six-month billing cycle begins.

I think the real question we ought to be asking is what if these "smart" meters get too smart. You know, like some real Skynet shit.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:58 pm

Smart water meter gone rogue.

Image

I'm in zone one so they're supposed to get installed this month. I may have to rethink.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Detritus » Thu Aug 16, 2012 4:21 pm

I'm living in Whitewater at the moment, which has smart meters and monthly billing. It's fine. I signed up for autopay. I get an email each month with a warning that the money is about to disappear and an accounting of the usage, and otherwise I don't worry about it.

Really, worrying about smart meters is very much a first world problem. Most of the world worries about finding clean water, not whether they get billed monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby WestSideYuppie » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:35 pm

Well, it's pretty slim pickings to find a justification for the smart meters, but I'll take a stab at it.

The smart meter could, if designed right, detect leaks by determining whether the flow rate ever drops to zero during a given time period such as 24 hours. Then again, AFAIK most water meters have a tiny little wheel that spins at a rate sufficient to see if you've got a leak, if you know that everything is supposed to be shut off at your house. A long term average won' tell you that.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby fennel » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:12 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:Well, it's pretty slim pickings to find a justification for the smart meters, but I'll take a stab at it.

The smart meter could, if designed right, detect leaks by determining whether the flow rate ever drops to zero during a given time period such as 24 hours. Then again, AFAIK most water meters have a tiny little wheel that spins at a rate sufficient to see if you've got a leak, if you know that everything is supposed to be shut off at your house. A long term average won' tell you that.
Yes, and all this could be done in-residence, so to speak. Near real-time usage data could be collected and made available without having to pass through the City's billing agency. The City could offer a locally hosted app that tracks usage and then makes that available via an API to whomever the resident deems appropriate. If that be the City, so be it. If that be a third-party service or a home-grown service, so be it.

In any case, there's no need that the ability to closely track usage to be tied to a billing mechanism. And unless the two interests are distinct, it's impossible to clearly evaluate why the City wants to implement the proposed system.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby snoqueen » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:41 pm

I still think the reasons are:

--monthly billing (probably saves the utility from having to pay as much for operating-expense loans as they would with a longer billing cycle)

--encouraging voluntary consumer conservation practices through immediate feedback on homeowners' water use, though without rate incentives

--possibility of establishing off peak rates to level out overall usage and delay the need for new wells (similar to what some electric companies do already)

--possibility of stepped rates geared to monthly usage with a cheaper rate for the first so-many gallons and a higher rate for usage beyond that, which coupled with real-time metering could result in more conservative usage by homeowners

--other rate-structure incentives to reduce and even out water usage and delay need for new wells

--lower expenses due to lack of need for employees driving around and reading meters individually (unfortunately, probably with the loss of some jobs)

I think the finding-leaks thing was sort of an afterthought and they probably shouldn't have made it part of the dialogue, though the individual homeowner might become more aware of problems like leaky toilets or other grossly wasteful usage patterns sooner with the new meters. Might.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby lukpac » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:04 pm

Dairylander wrote:
Stebben84 wrote:So did you pick out your electric meter from Walmart or Target?

I think you meant water meter?


I'm guessing Stebben84 meant electric meter. MG&E moved to wireless meters several years ago.

Hank also mentioned gas meters. I *think* those are also wireless but I'm not certain.
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Re: Smart Water Meters

Postby Stebben84 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:35 pm

lukpac wrote:I'm guessing Stebben84 meant electric meter. MG&E moved to wireless meters several years ago.


The came last year and switched mine out with a digital and then came back this year to swap again and test the efficiency of the newer one I got. Every time I go near it in my basement my hair falls out and I pee myself.
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