January 10, 2014 10:28:50 AM
Columbus Light and Water will soon choose a company to install a mobile water meter reading system citywide.
Three companies who submitted proposals late last year made presentations to CL&W officials Friday and general manager Todd Gale said it's likely the board of directors will make a selection during its next regular meeting Jan. 23.
Gale said the board had previously been leaning toward an automated, fixed-base water meter system, which is a method where a network of towers wirelessly captures meter readings.
"We haven't found a fixed base water meter reading system that we're comfortable with," Gale said.
Gale says he currently favors a mobile "drive-by" system, which requires employees to drive to each meter to collect information. This system provides up-to-the-hour data so customers can better monitor usage, he said.
"Some of them can give hourly reporting, so if a customer has a leak, we can tell them when that leak occurred within an hour," Gale said. "If a customer had a leaking toilet and received a high water bill, today all we can tell them is what we read 30 days ago -- the usage over that last billing cycle. This helps them identify leaks. It helps customers become more knowledgeable on how they can conserve water and save money."
Oxford-based BMC Electrical Contractors and two Hammond, La. companies, Utility Metering Solutions and Delta Water, were the three companies who made presentations Thursday.
Gale said CL&W previously approved a $4 million financing plan for the fixed-base system, but installation of the mobile system should cost a little more than $3 million. CL&W's board will select one of those three based on experience and qualifications before negotiating a contract, Gale said.
The CL&W board also held a special call meeting Thursday spent mostly in executive session over a personnel matter. After going back into open session, board attorney Jeff Smith said the board denied the grievance filed by an employee.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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