July 8, 2024 12:04 PM
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Certain customers of the Suffolk County Water Authority are now equipped with the latest water meter technology, allowing real time monitoring of water use and other advanced features. The meters utilize advanced data transmission equipment that allows constant communication between the meter and SCWA’s system. With this new technology, SCWA can obtain accurate meter reads without an employee needing to be near the customer’s home.


“This is a very exciting step for SCWA and for our customers,” said Chairman Charlie Lefkowitz. “For SCWA, this technology can drastically reduce the number of hours our employees need to be on the road collecting reads. For our customers, this will give them the most up to date information on their water use so they can quickly detect leaks or reduce their water use when there is high demand.”


Homes on Shelter Island now have 500W water meters manufactured by Temetra, which constantly transmit data using cellular signals. On Fire Island, meters use Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to transmit information to a fixed network point which then relays the data directly to SCWA. In both cases, data collection and transmission are continuous, which means that real time water use can be monitored. With the previous generation of water meters, still used by most customers, an employee is deployed to obtain data from homes. They must be in close proximity and data is collected about once per quarter for most accounts.


“We are still in the early stages of testing these two different methods of gathering information,” added Chief Executive Officer Jeff Szabo. “Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Collecting data through cellular signals is great because we don’t need any additional infrastructure but using AMI may work better in places where cellular service is limited. Testing these two technologies on Shelter Island and Fire Island is providing us valuable insight as we consider expanding the latest water meter technology to even more customers.”


SCWA says it completed an upgrade of its meters more than ten years ago when it moved to technology that could be read automatically, rather than by having employees or customers read the meters themselves. That conversion put the utility ahead of many others in the industry, but some meters are reaching the end of their useful life. SCWA says it will continue to roll out newer technologies to harder to reach areas, especially on the East End, reducing the number of hours its employees must spend on the road.


“Our customers are already seeing the benefits of these new meters,” said Szabo. “Leaks are being detected much more quickly than in the past, allowing customers to address them immediately. That means a lot less wasted water. Our older meters can also detect leaks, but it can take weeks or even months before it becomes apparent. Now, we are able to alert customers within hours.”


About SCWA:


The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.

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