We wanted to make a statement that this is not the same old meter.
“With this type of technology, because we’re active with the water, there’s a lot we can tell about the water system as a whole. For example, it’s quite easy for us to measure the conductivity of the water. The conductivity of the water is directly related to water quality. That gives us the ability to give data that is far beyond just measuring accurately and measuring accurately over the life. Now we can tell something about the quality of water in the system. It’s trying to choose a technology that you can build on with time beyond just the meter itself.
“For example, utilities often flush their hydrants on a set schedule as opposed to a data-driven, needs-based approach. if you compare conductivity at the source and compare that with conductivity in the meter systems, a utility can know when to flush, and just as importantly, know when to stop flushing.”
In developing the iPERL, investment wasn’t limited to the internal electronics. The outward appearance was the result of some careful internal deliberation. As Pinney explains, “In the beginning, there were two differing opinions. One was, try to make the unit look very much like a traditional meter, so that the market acceptance would be easier. The other idea was to try to go in a very different direction, and design a meter that reflects that this is a high-tech instrument. We went in the direction of the high-tech instrument look. We wanted to make a statement that this is not the same old meter. When the device looks the way that it does, it’s easier for the utility to talk about the enhancements they’re making to their system. The investment, and why they’re making that investment. It has a forward look to it. It makes easier for them to demonstrate that they are upgrading the system, as opposed to replacing it.”
Thunderbolt—a small town just outside of Savannah— owes its very name to water. According to local legend, a lightning bolt created a spring in the area.
If you’re meters aren’t accurately reading, it will put you in a negative real quick.
These days Thunderbolt relies on two sources for its water — pumped well water and purchased water from the City of Savannah. There is a limit on how much water the town can withdraw though its wells, which requires purchasing supplemental finished water from the City of Savannah. This makes the resource even more precious and expensive to the town, and makes the need to accurately measure consumption critically important. If you’re meters aren’t accurately reading, “It will put you in a negative real quick,” comments Shawn Elmore, Thunderbolt’s Publc Works Director.