Small Meter Replacement Project 2023
Small Meter Replacement Project
The Village will be replacing 5/8” – 1” water meters and the attached remote readers in residential and commercial properties throughout Bloomingdale in order to provide better accuracy and improved customer service response. The existing Sensus SRII meters were installed in 2003 and have mechanical parts that wear over time, reducing accuracy. Existing radio read equipment requires Village staff to drive past the property to collect information. Regular billing reads are only completed every two months, leading to extended time for issues to go undetected between route reads.
New Sensus Iperl meters will be installed in residential applications. Ally meters, which are similar to Iperl with a few additional functions, will be installed on commercial services. These meters have many features which will improve accuracy and customer service including:
• Solid state (no moving parts) for unparalleled accuracy over time, at all flow rates
• Zero-lead construction
• Communicate over an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system
• Eliminates the need for Village staff to drive by homes or businesses to get reads
• Consumption metered to the gallon, reported multiple times per day
• Issues with meters can be identified and addressed more easily
• Diagnostic alarms such as leak detection
• Potential for future customer portal to access meter/flow information
Pilot Program Success
The Village’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system was installed in 2019 with a sample set of water meters being converted. Village has staff monitored the system and equipment and is satisfied with the results. All new construction and replacement meters installed since 2020 in the Village, totaling approximately 300 meters, have been Iperl meters on the AMI system.
United Meters Inc
United Meters Inc (UMI) is the same contractor that completed the meter change out project in 2003. All UMI employees completing the meter replacement are licensed plumbers and have been background checked. Any UMI employee needing to enter a property will display a Village of Bloomingdale issued photo ID and be driving marked United Meters vehicles. At the property owner’s request, UMI employees are prepared to wear boot covers, gloves, and/or face masks when entering the premises. The best way to be sure that the person at the door is a UMI employee completing this project is to schedule an appointment ahead of time with a pre-arranged appointment window.
UMI will mail notices to properties in each phase as they begin to enter that area. Residents and business owners are asked to call UMI at the number on the notice to schedule an appointment. Appointments will be made in two-hour windows of time and are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on certain Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. An individual 18 years or older must be present during the installation and water will be shut off during this time. A typical meter change out takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
Residents and business owners who fail to respond will be sent an additional notice to schedule. UMI staff may also come to the door and request to replace the meter if they are in the neighborhood and/or leave a door hanger if they get no response. The best way to avoid this sort of contact is to respond promptly to the mailing and schedule an appointment.
Approximately 6,500 meters (sized 5/8” – 1”) and attached remote readers will be replaced by United Meters, Inc (UMI) who will contact residents and business owners directly to schedule an appointment. Properties will be divided geographically into sections to be completed in phases beginning in early July. UMI expects to complete all meter replacements by early 2024.
The Village Board entered into a Master Project Agreement with Core & Main LP (the Village’s water meter supply vendor) with a Total Project Cost of $3,114,300.00. United Meters, Inc is acting as the plumbing sub-contractor under the agreement with Core & Main and is included in that cost. The vast majority of the project is being funded using federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that the Village has already received. The remainder of the cost is being allocated from reserve funds in the Village’s Home Rule Sales Tax Fund. There is no charge to water customers for this project.
Meter Access / Service Interruption
UMI will need unobstructed access to the water meter for each service. Any obstructions such as furniture or stored items should be moved prior to the contractor arriving. Meters should not be inside of walls or blocked by appliances or other obstructions such as water heaters. If this is the case, please contact the Public Works Department at (630) 671-5800 before scheduling an appointment with UMI in order to determine the best way to get access to the meter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Village replacing water meters?
The existing water meter equipment has been in place for 20 years. Modern meters provide improved accuracy across a wider spectrum of flow rates. Newer radio equipment allows for communication with the Village’s AMI system already in place for improved customer service interactions when attempting to diagnose issues such as high usage.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Be on the lookout for mailings from UMI with information on how to schedule an appointment. Mailings will only be sent to properties in the area (or phase) that UMI is working. All appointments must be scheduled directly with UMI at the toll-free number on the mailing. Please do not call the Village to schedule an appointment.
I am concerned about ruse burglaries and fraud. What is the Village and United Meters doing to prevent this from happening?
The only way to prevent ruse burglaries is vigilance on the part of the property owner. The Village has taken steps to ensure that UMI employees are not going to take advantage of residents. Employees have been background checked, issued Village photo IDs, and will be driving United Meters marked vehicles. Residents should not allow anyone in their home that they do not believe to be a UMI plumber. The best way to know that the person is there for the meter replacement project is to respond promptly to UMI’s request to schedule an appointment. If a resident knows that window of time that UMI is scheduled to arrive, it greatly reduces the opportunity for those who might try to take advantage of the program for fraudulent activity.
How will a new meter impact my water bill?
There is no cost to residents or businesses for the meter replacement project. The project is mainly funded using federal ARPA monies. Customers may see a slight increase in their consumption on their regular water bill. This is due to improved accuracy of the new meters, especially in low flow situations.
What if I don’t want to participate in the project?
All properties connected to the Village’s water supply are required to participate. According to 9-1-4:C of Village Code “The Village…shall have access, upon providing reasonable notice to the occupant or property owner of the premises, to the water meter and MXU located thereon. If the occupant or property owner of the premises declines to grant access to the Village for the purpose of maintaining the water meter or MXU, the Village may suspend, cut off or otherwise terminate water service to the premises upon providing reasonable notice…” Refusal to allow access to the meter may result in disconnection of service and additional fees.
Do I need to be home for the meter replacement?
An individual 18 years or older must be present during the installation. Items blocking the water meter such as appliances and furniture must also be moved prior to UMI arriving. UMI employees will not be able to assist in moving these items.
How will UMI turn off my water to change the meter?
UMI plumbers will attempt to use the private valve before the water meter to turn the water off. This valve belongs to the property owner and is their responsibility to maintain. If the meter valve does not function, UMI will use the Village owned buffalo box (b-box) outside.
Can UMI change my private meter valve while they change the meter?
UMI is able to change the meter valve while they change the meter, but this is the property owner’s responsibility. At the property owner’s request, UMI may provide a proposal to complete this work. All terms, including payment, are between UMI and the property owner. UMI will not attempt to ‘up-sell’ valve replacement work as part of the meter replacement project. If a property owner wants to have UMI replace the valve during the appointment, please inform UMI over the phone when scheduling the appointment so they are sure to allow enough time.
Why haven’t I received a notice?
UMI will only mail notices to residents and businesses that have 5/8” or 1” SRII meters that are in the phase they are currently working. Properties in later phases of the project should receive notice later in the year. If the home or business was built or had the water meter replaced since 2020, a new meter system is already installed. If the water meter is larger than 1”, it is not a part of this project. Village staff will be working through these meters on a case by case basis to determine if the meter needs to be replaced and to install a new AMI radio unit. If a property owner believes they have been excluded from the project in error, please contact the Public Works Department at (630) 671-5800 to discuss.
I am concerned about radio equipment being installed in my house?
The new meter system works via wireless radio frequency (RF) signals sent from a transmitter unit near the meter to fixed-base network antennae in the Village over an FCC licensed network. These signals transmit at extremely low power, within FCC guidelines, and only for a few seconds at a time. The existing meter system also communicates using RF signals. RF energy produced by smart meters is comparable to cellular phone devices, wireless baby monitors, television broadcasts and WiFi networks. For more information on Understanding RF and Smart Meters, please visit http://www.sensus.com/rf/