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Waterworks is conducting a system-wide upgrade to enhance customer service and deliver more cost effective and efficient service. Smart meters help conserve water and ensure a better water future. Working with our customers is the best way to reduce water use, improve the reliability and sustainability of our water system, and minimize costs. Smart meters provide an outstanding foundation for strong collaboration with our customers. In preparation for this upgrade, Waterworks suspended its periodic meter replacement program in 2013; therefore, over half of the meters currently in service have met their useful life expectancy.
During the Initial Deployment Area (IDA) installation, Newport News Waterworks employees will handle the meter replacement. The IDA will be conducted in three areas: a neighborhood in York County that is the furthest point in our service area, an area in Poquoson that is prone to high tides and where meters are frequently underwater, and an area in Hampton near Langley Air Force Base that has a high level of customers moving in and out. Once the IDA has been tested and passes our standards, the replacement of meters in the remaining areas will begin with Utility Partners of America (UPA) technicians performing the meter exchanges. Approximately 4,300 meters will be converted to new smart meters per month, and we anticipate completion in 2023.
While replacement times vary, replacing a meter should take no longer than 20 minutes for residential meters, and your water will be shut off for part of that time. The installation crews will make every effort to keep the interruption of your service to a minimum. After the new meter has been installed, a door tag will be placed on your front door notifying you that the work has been completed.
The customer line will be flushed at the front outside spigot by the contractor installing the new smart meter. If it can’t be flushed at the outside spigot it will be noted on a door hanger letting you know. At this point you will need to run your sink faucet several minutes or until the air in the line dissipates.
Installers will not dig up the street and will not need to access your home in order to make the upgrade. The installer will simply remove the current meter and replace it with a smart meter with a transmitter in the same meter box or repaired box.
The new upgrade is being done for all customers at no additional cost. Customers cannot choose to remain on the manual reading system.
Protecting your data is a top priority. Access to account information is restricted to authorized Waterworks personnel who need the data to perform important functions, including billing and customer service. Just like the old water meters, the new smart meters collect how much water you use. The main difference is that the new meters collect more data throughout the day. No customer-identifying information such as names or addresses are stored in the meters or transmitted across the network. Like the advanced methods used in internet banking and ATM machines, the new meter reading system uses proprietary protocols, transmitting data to Waterworks over a wireless network with multiple layers of security incorporated throughout the system. These measures are tested and reviewed regularly.
Each radio frequency device has a unique identification number, which is transmitted along with the meter reading. The unique number is compared to your account record electronically to ensure a match.
Possibly. Older mechanical meters tend to lose accuracy as they age and, therefore, may not accurately measure all the water being used. All the new meters are tested prior to delivery by the manufacturer to ensure that they register properly. If you see a higher bill immediately upon the new meter installation and you have not changed your water use pattern, it is likely the old meter was running slow, or that you have a minor leak that wasn’t registering correctly through the old meter.
Yes. However, Waterworks staff will continue to visit the meter box for routine service, maintenance, or repair. We will continue to respond to water emergencies.
No, access needs to be available at all times. There will still be instances when meter technicians will visit the meter on site to perform routine maintenance or verify high readings. Obstructions to the meter box are subject to removal by Waterworks personnel.
Yes, smart meters come pretested along with results directly from the manufacturer. The radio device will be tested regularly for accuracy during the meter collection process.
All communication equipment used for smart meters meets criteria set by the FCC. The smart meter and its system operate on their own frequency and should not interfere with any equipment inside a home or business.
No, the smart meter is owned by Newport News Waterworks, the same as your previous meter.
No, water meters are secured to allow the lighter weight composite lids to stay securely in place. We do not want a situation when non-secured meter lids float off during heavy rain and create a hazard for people and animals who could accidentally step into the opened meter box. In the event of a water emergency, if you do not know where your master shut-off is located within your home or do not have one, a waterworks representative will be able to remotely turn off your water when you are ready, remotely turn your water back on. If you have an emergency, call a representative Monday-Friday 8am-5pm at 757-926-1000 or after hours and weekends 757-234-4800.
No, it is illegal and unsafe to do so. Waterworks owns and maintains the metering equipment. Removing or tampering with meters creates a safety issue, which may result in termination of service and is considered a crime. If done improperly, it can result in serious injury.
After immediate installation of your new smart meter, the installer will leave a door hanger with instructions and a phone number to call if you have any questions or concerns.