The City of Minden will begin the process of retrofitting about 5,600 light and water meters with automatic meter-reading technology in the coming days.
In what some consider one of the largest infrastructure projects, the city will be equipped with a completely automated billing system that will show hourly utility and water usage data when completed.
Installation of water meters through the city will be completed before electric meter replacements begin.
Commercial water meters should begin being installed throughout the city this week and officals says the entire process should be complete in November.
“Half of the equipment is already in and the rest should be in shortly,” Mayor Tommy Davis said. “Installation of the base stations on the two water towers is already complete.”
The meters are manufactured by Senus Metering Systems and the city contracted with Utility Metering Solutions, a division of Aqua Metrics, to do the work.
“We feel these are the most accurate water and electric meters requiring the least amount of infrastructure modifications,” Davis said.
The company’s workers will wear uniforms and drive vehicles that are easily identifiable. The work area will also have traffic barriers around the targeted area,officals said. If residents are not home, workers will leave door hangers to notify the resident of the progress.
Workers will also work six days a week.
The work will take about 15 minutes per water meter if everything runs smoothly with the installation and the outage should only last about 5 to 10 minutes, project manager Rick Broussard said. Workers will also need access to an outside faucet.
For questions, concerns or to report a leak after installation, residents are asked to contact UMS at 1-800-504-2568.
Workers will target certain sections of the city to complete the installation. Once a schedule has been determined, the city will post a timeline of where the workers will be working that week on its website – www.mindenusa.com. Schedules will also be published in the newspaper.
Once all water meters are changed out throughout the city, installation on the power meters will begin.
Broussard said that process would only take minutes.
“It will be a simple process of just pulling the old meter off and replacing it with a new one,” he said. “ It shouldn’t take hardly anytime at all.”
The new system will transmit meter readings to base stations at the two water towers in town every hour. The readings will then be sent to city hall every four hours.
The major improvements to the water and electric infrastructure are a positive for the city, Davis said.
“For the first time, we will have a complete audit, inventory and location of every meter within our system,” he said. “This is really a good thing because we are getting to know the system better than we ever have before.”
Broussard said when the new meters are installed, locaters will be placed on the meter so the city knows the exact location of every meter as well as photos taken of exactly how the meter looks.
For general questions or feedback, Davis said citizens should contact the utility department at city hall by calling 377-2144.
“Your patience and cooperation are greatly appreciated as we begin this major undertaking,” Davis said. “We (the city) are excited to offer this latest metering technology to our citizens.”
The city council approved the $2.6 million project in January.