Agua Special Utility District (SUD) Announces Water Meter Modernization Project

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Texas Border Business

Palmview, Texas – Agua SUD has entered into a Performance Contract (ESPC) valued at $7,665,256 to replace and modernize 14,706 commercial and residential water meters serving Agua SUD customers. The project referred to as an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) “smart” water meter project, is the largest deployment to date in the Rio Grande Valley and will help the utility achieve many financial, operational and customer service needs.

Performance Contracting (Local Government Code 302.0016) is a method of procurement that allows a public entity to contract and pay for efficiency improvements within their existing operating budget. Savings are generated from the installation of new, modern, and energy efficient equipment including electronic meters, lighting and other components.

Agua SUD conducted a thorough analysis of their system assets as part of the due diligence associated with considering the project. No up-front investment was required. Project costs are financed and repaid with savings. The contractor will guarantee $816,086 in annual savings across the program period of 15 years. The contractor selected for the project, Performance Services, is accredited by the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO) and must guarantee that the annual operational savings, energy savings, and efficiency gains will always be equal to or greater than the payments for the cost of the improvements.

Replacing old and outdated water meters with new smart meters will ensure that Agua SUD can accurately track water usage and reduce manual work processes. The need to manually read water meters will no longer be necessary. After installation of the new meters and AMI system, water usage can be tracked and reported instantaneously in real-time, almost eliminating a process that currently takes weeks to complete.

In addition to the expedited meter reading capabilities, Agua SUD will now be able to monitor water usage in real-time which will allow them to provide customers with more proactive customer service.  For example, in the case of water system leaks or excessive water consumption, Agua SUD will be able to help customers identify issues sooner such that quicker action can be taken to correct problems.

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“As leaders, we are constantly looking at ways to improve our delivery of services. By implementing these smart water meters, we will be better able to manage water usage, streamline meter reading and reporting, and reduce the cost associated with older processes,” said Agua SUD Board President Roger Hernandez. “We are proud to provide this service to our customers, and look forward to sharing the many benefits this program will provide over the next few years,” Hernandez continued.

The accuracy of the new meters relies on magnetic technology that uses solid-state technology in a compact, totally encapsulated, weatherproof housing which is suitable for both residential and commercial applications. Electronic metering provides information, such as the gallons/minute of water flow, reverse flow indication, and other operating data not typically available from traditional mechanical meters and registers. Electronic metering eliminates measurement errors due to sand, suspended particles and pressure fluctuations that can occur in older meters.

For the Agua SUD AMI system, the technology will connect water meters with powerful analytics to a secure and uninterrupted network, giving Agua SUD the tools needed to optimize their processes and provide proactive customer service. Additionally, an online portal will allow customers, for the first time ever, to view, manage and track their water usage.

The project will also replace existing lighting with energy efficient LED lighting at the water treatment facilities, booster stations, towers, lift stations and the Abrams office and warehouse with energy efficient LED lighting and represents approximately 3% of the total project.

A summary of project benefits include:

• Accurate water flow measurements

• No moving parts on residential and small commercial meters

• Reduced maintenance costs

• Up to 20-year accuracy warranty depending on meter size

• More accurate customer billing

• Customer online, transparent access to view current water usage

Project communication will include a postcard mailer to all customer residences/businesses and a door tag that will be placed once the meter is installed. The installation of the new meters will begin in June and conclude by the end of December 2018.

Performance Services is an integrated design and construction company that specializes in constructing and renovating schools, universities, healthcare, and government facilities to deliver optimal environments and high-performance buildings. Innovative renewable systems are integral to its energy services portfolio. The company has provided facility and energy solutions to customers since 1998 and is a leading qualified provider of energy savings performance projects and Energy Star® labeled buildings. Performance Services works with a Texas licensed electrical contractors to perform installation and interconnection services.