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Woolwich to automate meter reading for water bill

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The meter-reader is on the endangered species list in Woolwich, as the township is moving ahead with automating collection of water-billing information.

Meeting last week, councillors awarded a $1.1-million contract to KTI Limited to install a remote meter-reading some on some 6,444 water meters. There will then be a $40,000 annual fee for the service.

Currently, the township reads meters manually, then manually inputs the information into its billing system. Automating the process will save time and money, and boost efficiency, said director of finance Richard Petherick.

“The current process is inefficient and prone to human errors,” he noted in a report to councillors.

“The ultimate goal of migrating to a remote reading system is to increase efficiencies in the township’s water meter billing activity, decrease the instances of human errors, and to enhance customer service to the township’s water customers.”

The technology also allows the township to quickly note sudden changes in water consumption that might indicate a leak, information that could be passed on to the customer, Petherick said.

He noted the work would likely be carried out over two years, as the contractor has to physically mount a radio transmitter on each meter. Work will start in the smaller rural settlements before shifting to Elmira.

“Given the time of year physical work in the field is not expected to begin until 2020.

However, in the meantime the township will be sending notices of this project to water customers through water billings.”

Looking at the costs, Coun. Patrick Merlihan asked whether the project could be funded by modernization money provided by the province.

That might be possible, Petherick noted, but that money is perhaps earmarked for lower-priority items that might not otherwise be funded.

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