During this transition period the original MTUs began failing at an exponential rate. By the end of 2012, some 27,000 of the original 41,500 MTUs had experienced battery failure. Canton managed to replace 16,000 of these units using in-house staff, but were falling behind and had no way to close the gap. Nearly 11,000 customer bills were now being estimated. By the end of 2012, the decision was made to hire outside help and undertake a full-blown MTU and water meter replacement program as quickly as possible.
The final AMR and metering system had to be robust and warranted to last the full 15-20 years.
Preliminary Planning Phase
Superintendent Converse understood the arduous task of working through a project of this size, scope and complexity. Within this project resided a myriad of details, logistical considerations and specifications that had to be worked out if the project was to be a success. The ultimate goal was to restore the meter reading and billing system to full functionality in the most expedient, efficient, customer friendly, and cost effective way possible. Key note: The final AMR and metering system had to be robust and warranted to last the full 15-20 years.
In early 2013, the City enlisted the help of Burgess & Niple (B&N) to assist with the pre-planning process. An overall approach, schedule, budgetary cost estimates and funding mechanism were needed. B&N’s preliminary plan involved conducting workshops to resolve the technical issues with the existing ACLARA hardware and software systems. The City also wanted to explore various contract and procurement options for the project, such as: Sole-source procurement from vendors; utilizing a single prime installation contractor; or utilizing multiple contracts whereby the City purchases the water meters, MTUs and AMR system and then competitively bids out the installation work. After conducting numerous “brainstorming” sessions and workshops, it was determined that the City would issue individual bids for the respective purchase of the water meters, new MTUs and installation services.