New York City is ahead of schedule on its goal of installing smart
water meters for all city customers by 2012, officials said Monday,
Automated meter reading (AMR) units have been installed for half of
the city's customers, 417,000 in all, according to an announcement from
the city Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas
According to the city, the AMRs consist of "small, low-power radio
transmitters connected to individual water meters that send daily
readings to a network of rooftop receivers throughout the city." The
receivers are part of the Department of Information Technology and
Telecommunications' New York City Wireless Network.
The total cost of citywide installation is $252 million.
The new devices are intended to give customers more information
about their daily water usage, in turn assisting conservation and leak
detection. Most customers connected to the wireless network receive
meter readings four times per day, while certain large buildings
receive information hourly. Information on usage will be available by
day, week, month, year and billing period. Customers can compare usage
during those time frames.
Last month, the city began rolling out AMR Online, a Web-based application on NYC.gov
where customers with property using a smart water meter can view water
usage on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. The system is
expected to be available in all five New York City boroughs by
Officials say the wireless system will save money for New York City
government by reducing instances of billing disputes and eliminating
the need for in-person meter reading, which costs more than $3.6
million annually. The smart meters will also improve enforcement and
More municipalities are improving IT infrastructure for their water
systems as governments seek to cut water waste, save energy and reduce
costs. A study this
year from Oracle that surveyed 300 water utility managers found that 68
percent of them believe the adoption of smart meter technology is
critical, and one-third are considering implementation.