Should You Specify Solid-State Technology in your Next Meter Changeout?

Everything you always wanted to know about solid-state water meters (but were afraid to ask).

The project was financed through a $1.25M loan from the Kentucky Rural Water Finance Corporation, and will be repaid through a surcharge included in the water bills. This is important because the district has seen a lot of growth across its service area, which is expansive.  “We’ve got to continue building our infrastructure. But also you’ve go to keep up with technology. You’ve got to go with these better meters. Again, we consider the meter our cash register. It’s how we get paid.” comments Douglas.

The upgrade offers the district some key benefits. The new system supports radio-read via drive-by AMR.  The district estimates that this  will reduce the work days required to gather the meter data by over 80%. It will also reduce the vehicles required for meter reading from four to just one, delivering roughly  $10,000 in reduced fuel costs. Futthermore, the iPERL units can store 45-days worth of consumption data. The units also can detect and report attempts to meddle with the meter itself, preventing theft of service and other non-revenue water issues. Sensus warrants the unit, including the battery, for 20 years.

“We’ve been making mechanical meters for well over a hundred years,” shares Dan Pinney, Sensus’ director of global water marketing. “The fundamental principals that mechanical meters use today are the same things that meters have used for hundreds of years. The big thing that’s changed over time is materials.

“But you’re still fighting a fundamental issue, which is that you’ve got a rotating device. Over time that device wears. So if you look at warranties in the industry, typically a manufacturer will warranty accuracy for two years. That was the main reason for us in attacking and driving solid state. We wanted to get to a point where a meter can maintain its accuracy of its life. The real benefit is that it maintains its accuracy over life.

“There’s a balance between really trying to expand the flow range and really trying to tighten the accuracy across the whole flow range. Those are two separate things. And that’s really where we’re driving iPERL—to be very consistent over its life, but also within a much tighter tolerance than you could get with a standard mechanical meter.

“The main reason we chose a mag meter is that, if you do it right, you don’t have to sample the flow rates. With a mag meter, you’re measuring continuously. That allows you to be more accurate when things are changing in the system. We have a measuring system that’s directly proportional to the flow rate of the water in the system.