The City of Hitchcock Approves Smart Water Meter Project to Modernize Water Infrastructure
Hitchcock, TX. The City of Hitchcock has approved a project to modernize the City’s aging water service. The $3.6 million project will replace old mechanical water meters with new “smart” water meters and connect them to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure or AMI system. This 21st-Century technology will enable the City to automate water meter reading, detect potential leaks, transmit water consumption data in near real-time, and streamline customer billing. It will also provide operational efficiencies and allow residential customers to access their water usage data for the first time.
Like many cities across Texas, Hitchcock evaluated their aging water infrastructure and utility inefficiencies to better prepare for the future. In July, the City selected Performance Services, Inc., a qualified energy services company, to implement the smart water meters and AMI system to improve the City’s efficiency and resiliency. The project will begin this Fall of 2022 and will replace approximately 2,700 aging meters. The new smart water meters and AMI system will enable the City to track water usage more accurately and reduce manual work processes. Once installed, water consumption will be monitored and reported in near-real time, allowing the City to provide residents with more proactive customer service. For example, the new system will allow residents to detect potential leaks by creating customer notifications when water usage exceeds certain thresholds.
According to Marie Gelles, City Manager, “The arrival of smart meters to the City of Hitchcock is a milestone event. In rainy or dry conditions, the ability to monitor water use closely and precisely will give customers and the City the tools they need to manage and conserve water use wisely. We look forward to our partnership with Performance Services to bring this vitally needed service to our City.”
The City of Hitchcock will finance the project with an Energy Savings Performance Contract. Texas Local Government Code 302 enables public entities to pay for efficiency improvements within their existing operating budget without raising taxes. Project costs are financed and repaid with the savings generated from installing new, modern, and efficient technology and equipment. As a result, this self-funding project guarantees a minimum of $1,115,581 in annual savings for the City throughout the 15-year contract period.
The project will utilize Badger® water meters connected to the Badger Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) system called BEACON. This system will utilize cellular technology to capture the water meter data. The electronic meters will provide information, such as gallons used per hour, reverse-flow indication, and other operating data not typically available from traditional mechanical meters and registers. The electronic meters will also eliminate measurement errors due to sand, suspended particles, and pressure fluctuations.
The project complies with the Ultrasonic and Electromagnetic water meter standard, ANSI/AWWA C715-18, issued by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The AWWA standard supports the electromagnetic and ultrasonic water meter technologies that enable water utilities to reduce unaccounted water loss and to read water usage consistently at a high level of accuracy.
Once the meters are installed, and the AMI network is online, customers will have access to Badger’s Eye on Water online portal and smartphone app. This app will allow customers to view, manage, and track their water usage in near real-time. More information for accessing the customer portal will be available during project implementation.
Customers can expect more project communication once the project begins this fall, including a postcard mailer and a door tag after the new meter is installed.
Performance Services is an integrated design and delivery company accredited by the National Association of Energy Services Companies (NAESCO). The company is a leading qualified provider of energy savings performance projects for education and cities and towns. The company works with Texas-licensed plumbing and electrical contractors to perform installation and interconnection services.
Arlene Gavin, Director of Marketing
Performance Services, Inc.