By Lea Terry
Midwest City Beacon
Del City residents should soon have greater insight and control into their water usage, thanks to the new automated water meters being installed throughout the city. The meters, which transmit data electronically instead of requiring a technician to physically read the meter, will allow residents to monitor their usage.
“There will be a customer portal where you will be able to log in and see your usage in real time….usage, water temperature, everything,” said Brittany Parrott, assistant to the city manager.
Parrott provided an update on the project at the Oct. 16 Del City City Council Meeting. The project, which began earlier this summer, is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, with no cost to residents. Parrott also said that residents will not see an increase in water rates as a result of the new meters.
While there had previously been concern that water bills may go up due the change in meter readings, Parrott confirmed that the billing process also will not change, with customers still being billed by the thousand gallons.
“If you use 900 gallons, we’re going to bill you for zero, because it hasn’t rolled over a thousand,” Parrott said.
However, residents will be able to view the portal to see precise usage. The city hopes to roll out the new customer portal in December or January. For now, the city is testing the meters in approximately 2,300 locations across the city, and are evaluating the effectiveness and data they receive from the initial phase of the project. As of Monday, the city was getting reads from 99.6 percent of the new meters.
The city is installing the meters across four different city zones, with the first zone, of about 1,000 customers, already being billed. Parrott said there have not been any questions or concerns with those bills that couldn’t be addressed by the utility billing office. As they are installing the meters, technicians are also working to identify leaks and work with customers to identify the source so customers are not billed for water they’re not actually using.
The city has completed about a fourth of the initial phase, and Parrott said she expected that once they finish the first zone, the remaining zones should be completed quickly.