Agua Special Utility District is tossing out its old mechanical water meters and replacing them with new electronic meters to better calculate water spent by its customers.
“We feel that we’re going to be able to accurately bill our customers,” said Agua SUD General Manager Eddie Saenz. “At the same time, [it will] determine where our water losses might be.”
Starting in July, more than 14,000 Agua SUD customers in La Joya, Sullivan City, Peñitas, Palmview and parts of Mission, will be getting new water meters installed.
“This way, we don’t have to worry about meter tampering and now we have a way to account with losses that happen right away and do something about it,” said Saenz. “If we see something that seems off, like a leak or something like that, we can alert the customer and shut it off at the click of a button.”
The smart meters are completely electronic-based and provide the exact water flow, reverse flow indication and other data that is not available through traditional mechanical meters.
But with the new meters, some customers might find themselves paying a little bit more because of the water spending accuracy.
“We’re not saying that their bills are going to be higher— just more accurate,”said Saenz. “It might be higher, but the software is also programmed to detect if there’s irregularities in the water consumption.”
A few customers say paying a few more dollars is worth it if the meters they’ve had for years finally get replaced.
“It’s good. It’s good because we usually need to come over here and pay the bills and wait in line and sometimes we don’t have time for that, so this will modernize it,” said Jose Luis Sanchez, who has been an Agua SUD customer since 2008.
With the upgrades, all customers will be able to monitor their water with an app on their smart phone, as well as pay bills and get in contact with Agua SUD at the touch of their fingers.
All customers can expect to have the new smart water meter by December.
The meters will begin to be placed in two weeks throughout the five cities.