Advanced Metering Infrastructure – Frequently Asked Questions


  • Can you explain the installation process?

    a. The project includes replacing about 15,500 residential and commercial water meters with new, technologically advanced meters and registers that can communicate usage data via wireless technology directly to the District.

    b. All meters in Lakewood Water District’s utility service area, including domestic water, irrigation and fire meters, will be read using the advanced metering system.

    c. During the first phase of the project, District staff conducted a visual inspection of a sample of about 250 residential and nonresidential meters throughout the District to help determine specifications for the new system. Customers experienced no interruptions to their water service during the inspection.

    d. Installation of the new meter and communication module should take no more than 30 minutes in most cases, with your water service being unavailable for about 15-20 minutes of that time.

    e. Lakewood Water District and our contractors and consultants are committed to minimizing impacts from this important project and will, therefore, prepare and work according to reliable, updated schedules and ensure that interruptions in water service are kept to no more than 15-20 minutes in most cases.

    f. To ensure the installation is complete, workers will briefly test the new meter at the residence.

    g. While most work will occur within public rights-of-way and easements, Apex and the District will restore to original condition any private property impacted by the installation.

    h. Before temporarily interrupting individual water services, crews will make every effort to ensure that doing so will not impose an undue hardship on the customer. Such efforts will include observing the meter to see if water is being used and knocking on doors to contact those who may be inside.

    i. Before leaving the site, door hangers will be left at all entrances to the property informing the residents of the status of the visit—a box will be checked indicating 1) installation complete; 2) installation pending water was being used/please call for rescheduled installation; or 3) unable to access water meter/please call to reschedule installation.

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  • Do I need to do anything to prepare for the installation?

    a. To help keep everyone safe, dogs and any other domestic pets will need to be contained outside of the yard during installation.

    b. Always keep meter box lids unobstructed.

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  • How will I be informed when the installation is taking place at my home or business?

    a. Since it will take up to 4-5 months to complete the project, a postcard will be sent to customers between one and two weeks prior to installation in their area, and an automated called will be placed to all customers we have good phone numbers for a few days prior to installation. Please call our District office at 253/588-4423 to update your phone number(s) and email addresses, so we have accurate contact information on file.

    b. Customers can track the progress of installations via the Meter Replacement Installation Schedule updated each week on the District’s website.

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  • Who is doing the work and will they be monitored by the District?

    a. The project is being managed for the District by Ferguson, which will ultimately be responsible for the day-to-day execution of the project, including installation of equipment and materials, selecting contractors and subcontractors, overseeing installation, and ensuring the highest level of customer satisfaction. The District will have a representative in the field at all times to monitor the work and the progress of Apex CoVantage.

    b. The District managed the first phase of the project, which included evaluating and recommending equipment and systems as well as developing performance measures for the project’s implementation phase, selecting vendors and contractors.

    c. Contractors working on the project will carry proper identification and have successfully completed a background check. They will be outfitted in easily identifiable uniforms, wear ID badges, and the Apex CoVantage name will be on all vehicles.

    d. Contractors will not need to enter residential property, nor will they be asking for any form of payment from customers.

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  • How does the system work?

    a. The system works via wireless signals sent from a small radio unit inside the meter box that is connected to the water meter. The meter radio unit sends readings to regional collector units that then transmit the meter reading data to receivers at the District office.

    b. Regional collectors will be located on existing water tanks, radio and cell phone towers located throughout the District.

    c. Each radio unit will send a 111-millisecond usage report from the meter to the District office four times a day.

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  • How does this system benefit customers?

    a. Currently, every month, the District has to manually visit 16,700 homes and busineses to read meters. The advanced metering system will take vehicles off the road, significantly reducing the community’s carbon footprint.

    b. The project includes the addition of a new web-based customer portal that will allow customers who sign up to track their daily water use. This web-based system will be activated toward the end of the installation project, probably in early 2016, and rate-payers will receive detailed information on how to take advantage of its offerings.

    c. The system will expedite leak detection and enhance customer service by providing near-real-time data to District staff. Alarms will announce no flow, negative flow, positive flow, and over-average flow, and most meters will retain usage data for 30 days.

    d. Thanks to its advanced technology and backup systems in the field, the new system will provide accurate, timely water use data regardless of weather conditions or short-duration power outages.

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  • How much does this cost?

    a. The total budget for the project is $6.9M, which is being funded through the rates and water revenue bonds.

    b. Once the project is fully implemented, the District will no longer require its Meter Reader to manually read meters. Every effort is being made to place the affected employees in vacant positions within the organization, so that overall budget savings are achieved without job losses.

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  • Will my bill be higher after the installation of my new meter?

    If your old meter was under-registering or otherwise not registering property, having a new, accurate meter may affect your bill. This would simply be because water previously not registered (and therefore not billed for) will now be registered and billed for, so now customers will be paying for all water used. This new AMI Meter Replacement Program also offers the customer benefit and value in better access to their account, increased services, and more efficient customer service. The District is required by the State Water Use Efficiency Rule to reduce its level of unaccounted-for water; this program will greatly assist the District in complying with this law.

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  • What happens with the current meters and equipment?

    a. The existing meters being replaced during the project will be sold to Tacoma Metals as scrap metal.

    b. As is currently the case, water meters, and radio units will remain the property of the Lakewood Water District, and the District will continue to perform the required maintenance on these units.

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  • Where can I get more information?

    a. Check our website at www.lakewood-water-dist.org for info and updates or, as always, you are welcome to call the District office at (253) 588-4423 with questions or feedback.