Liberty installing smart meters for city water

The city of Liberty is installing Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) - sometimes called smart meters - for its city-operated water service and expect to have installation completed this year.

Liberty has approximately 10,500 residential and commercial water meters.

The city of Independence consideration of AMI includes the installation of smart meters for the city’s water customers - a consideration often overlooked as the controversy has tended to focus on Independence Power and Light.

The city of Independence’s AMI consultant, in its 2015 report, noted:

“The water utility industry is now leveraging developments used by peers in the electric utilities for communications, billing, cybersecurity, data privacy, and smart grid, and adapting them for applications such as theft detection and leak detection. Furthermore, data derived by AMI can be integrated into hydraulic models to augment leak detection, enhance the system design, and inform capital investments in the water distribution system.” 

In addition to Liberty, the city of Sugar Creek is also involved in an AMI water meter project this year.

Here’s the details about the City of Liberty AMI water meter project as shared on the city’s website.

Beginning in the Spring of 2019 the City of Liberty Utilities Department will upgrade its water meter infrastructure and meter reading technology to a new, automated Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). 

Old meters that have traditionally been read manually every month will be replaced or retrofitted with meters that communicate water usage data automatically using radio transmitters. These new meters will eliminate the need for usage estimates. 

The Utilities Department and City Council are finalizing contracts and timelines for the project. A basic FAQ about the project is below and more information will become available as the details are confirmed: 

Will my water bill increase as a result of the AMI? 

The short answer is no. The AMI project itself has no impact on customer consumption or utility rates. However, replacing older and less accurate meters with AMI will lead to more accurate usage readings and therefore could affect your bill. 

What are the benefits of AMI for the customer?

AMI provides real-time usage reports that could help identify leaks in the private system. 

When will my new meter be installed and will there be a service disruption? 

AMI installation is set to start in late spring 2019 and customers will receive more detailed communication prior to their meter being replaced. During the conversion process for individual meters, customers will only be without water service for a short period of time. Complete installation of the AMI system is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2019.

Does the AMI require any maintenance by the customer?

No, like your current water meter, the AMI system does not require any maintenance by the customer. After the meter is installed, you will notice a raised round disc on top of the meter lid. This is the communications antenna for the AMI device and is durable to common weather elements. Customers will need to be careful when mowing, weed trimming, etc. as to not damage the antenna. 

Who will install the AMI meters?

The City of Liberty will contract with a third party installation specialist for installing new meters and radio transmitters.