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La Palma to Replace Revenue Losing Water Meters

By Rico Dizon

The La Palma City Council at is Sept. 4 meeting voted to award a $1,067,500 contract to Equarius Waterworks of Torrance who submitted a low bid for a city wide Water Meter Project.
Public Works Director/City Engineer Jeff C. Moneda said the work entails replacing all residential water meters and retrofitting all commercial water meters to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) fixed base radio read system that is expected to recover $200,000 in lost annual revenue.

According to Moneda, the currently installed residential water meters in the City are already old and fail in efficiency. “They are way beyond their life expectancy of 10 to 15 years,” he said. “In plain language, the old directly- read water meters should be replaced with digital-type units.”
The scope of work consists of removing and the replacing of residential water meters, installation of radio endpoints, retrofit of commercial water meters to radio read system, installation of radio read antennas, meter reading servers and related software, migration of meter read data, project management, staff training, software and warranty support.
The AMI system, according to the City Engineer, will allow for advanced leak detection, improved water conservation, enhanced customer service, increased security measures against backflow events, increased operational efficiency, and elimination of human error in meter reading that would ultimately result in the recovery of lost revenues. Based on the low bid received, the total estimated project cost, including the contingency of $32,500, will be $1.1 million to be taken 100 percent from the City’s Water Fund, explained Moneda.
Despite the expected full implementation among the City residents of the new water meter project, the City nevertheless proposed an Opt-Out policy for those who do not wish to subscribe to the AMI system in which case they have to pay a one-time charge of $141 for the direct read water meter unit and installation costs. In addition, there is a $20 fee for the bi-monthly direct reading done by the City staff which is to be incorporated in the bi-monthly bill of an Opt-Out customer.
Following execution of the Agreement, Moneda said, the AMI water meter project I was scheduled to start on Oct. 1 this year and should be completed before the end of January 2013.