The Water 2.0 Project
Welcome to the future of water meter reading in Naperville.
Throughout late 2020 and 2021, the Water 2.0 Project will transform the way water meters are read in Naperville. Currently, Naperville’s approximately 43,500 water meters are manually read for water usage by contracted meter readers. However, wireless remote meter readings have become the standard practice in utilities for many reasons, including reducing estimated reads and avoiding environmental and man-made conditions that challenge meter reading capability, such as weather or locked gates, that in turn can cause customers frustration.
About the Project
Naperville’s Water Utility has contracted with Core & Main, who will work with project partners Sensus and VEPO, to install the necessary equipment that allows our utility to receive wireless meter reads, which means a water meter reader will no longer need to visit homes or businesses.
This project is separate from the utility’s Water Meter Replacement Program, which will continue to swap out older water meters that have outlived their useful life to ensure fair and accurate billing.
How Will Installation Work?
Throughout 2021, VEPO will be visiting all customers’ homes or businesses to install a meter interface unit. This unit will most commonly replace the existing touchpad device on the outside of a building that currently facilitates meter reads and will allow wireless transmission of water usage data to the utility for billing purposes, similar to the process that has been in use by the Electric Utility for almost a decade.
For most installations, access will not be needed to a home or business. In limited instances, access will be needed indoors; in those cases, Naperville utility workers will complete the installation. Installers will adhere to best health practices at all times based on current guidance, including social distancing and wearing face coverings.
Customers will receive a letter from the City well in advance of installation with more specific instructions and expectations based on their existing device. Follow-up electronic communications closer to the actual time of installation are being identified to help maximize customer comfort and convenience.
A pilot program for the Water 2.0 Project is tentatively scheduled to begin towards the end of 2020, and following an evaluation of the pilot, large-scale installation is scheduled to take place through November 2021.
What are the Benefits?
Improved service levels and more accurate, efficient data collection
Implementing Water 2.0 will allow the Water Utility to raise customer service levels through reducing estimated meter reads and providing actual-use monthly bills to customers; allowing customers to know earlier if they may have a leak, thereby helping prevent resulting higher bills; and providing access to water usage data through the Empower dashboard, which can help guide customers in implementing water conservation measures, if they so choose.
The Water 2.0 Project will result in fewer water meter readers and vehicles on the streets, making for a more sustainable meter reading experience. The system will also be able to better monitor water meter health to optimize the Water Meter Replacement Program.
Improved integration with a new utility billing program
The City will be upgrading its utility billing program in the future to provide a better customer experience and capitalize on the meter reading data improvements available through the Water 2.0 Project and past Electric Utility initiatives. Water 2.0 is critical to implement prior to launching the new billing program.
Our Customers Have Choices
The Water Utility understands some customers may prefer to continue receiving manual water meter reads. An opt-out program, similar to the one Electric Utility customers currently have available, will be made available at an additional charge to support manual meter reading.