Weatherford, Oklahoma Improves Customer Service & Efficiency with Advanced Metering Infrastructure

The City of Weatherford installs an ingenious advanced metering infrastructure system for water, using their existing fire hydrants as data relay points to create a more robust network.

Situation

Located along historic Route 66, The City of Weatherford, Oklahoma is a small town that spans approximately six square miles in the central part of the state. Since its founding in 1892 as a frontier settlement, the people of Weatherford have enjoyed a comfortable level of prosperity and growth, fostered in part by the presence of Southwestern Oklahoma State University as well as the city’s high-tech industry which is home to the 2nd largest wind energy farm in the state as well as the Stafford Air & Space Museum. Weatherford’s advanced technological philosophy also extends to its Water Utilities Department.

Weatherford’s Water Department knew that its water system had become outdated, as the 5500 meters in its service area had been installed 20 to 40 years ago. Many of the meters were not reading accurately, which made receiving frequent complaints and questions from customers regarding their water usage a common occurrence. The department was also spending an increasing amount of time on the manual collection of meter reads (1-2 days each week) and tending to service related issues.

The city knew that it had to take action in order to help sustain its future growth and development with access to safe, clean drinking water and began looking for a solution that would help it to improve customer service, conservation and operational efficiency.

Action

The city replaced all water meters in its service area and implemented the Mi.Net Mueller Infrastructure Network for Utilities, Mueller Systems’ two-way advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system that automates the meter reading-to-billing process and links meters, distribution sites and control devices in a single data network.

The system’s major components work together to completely automate the process of accurately determining how much water a customer uses— for any period of time—and allows Weatherford to accurately bill the customer for that usage.

Mi.Hub collects meter data and transmits it back to the Weatherford utility office.

Transceivers (known as Mi.Nodes) that are part of system are attached to meters where they gather and pass water usage data on a daily basis via radio frequency (RF) to an area data collection module, known as a Mi.Hub. This gateway collects and uploads the usage data to Mi.Host— the AMI system’s master data management (MDM) software—where it is then relayed via general packet radio service (GPRS) or other backhaul options to the water department’s server.

Steel meter box lids and geographical gaps that existed between certain meters in Weatherford’s service area presented obstacles that could have weakened or delayed the transmission of RF signals through system’s mesh network configuration. To overcome these obstacles, Mi.Hydrant units were installed in strategic locations throughout the city.