Madison Water Utility is holding three open houses in September, starting Thursday, to present information about Project H2O- Smart Metering for a Sustainable Future.
Project H2O is a city-wide project that will automate water meter reading, which the utility says will increase accuracy and provide customers with the timely information they need to better manage their water usage. Installation of the new technology started in July and the project is expected to take approximately 15 months to complete.
The project includes a transition to monthly billing from the current six-month billing cycle. The utility says customers and the utility will be able to detect leaks much quicker and save hundreds of gallons of water through quicker repairs. Also, hourly water consumption data will be made available to interested customers online.
"Rather than waiting six months till their next bill they can see, say if they've installed a water-efficient toilet, how much they immediately start saving in their water usage," said Gail Gawenda, Public Information Officer for the utility.
The open house events will cover utility infrastructure, rates and billing, wireless technology, a display of the new meter equipment, conservation, water quality issues, the installation process, the linkage to the City sewer utility and a kids activity table.
"We hope to have every subject covered that people may ask about," Gawenda said.
One concern Madison Water Utility has heard from customers concerns radio frequency signals emitted from the new meters.
"Actually, it's less than a cell phone; about a quarter of what cell phone power is," Gawenda said. "And it's out at the edge of your basement, pointing outward."
The radio signals allows them to be checked without sending meter readers into Madison neighborhoods. The utility says this will conserve time and the gas currently spent sending workers into city neighborhoods, and that the meter readers will be retrained and keep their jobs.
The first public open house is on Thursday, September 6, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at Olbrich Gardens. That's at 333 Atwood Avenue in Madison.
The second is Wednesday, September 12, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at the Water Utility Administrative Office at 119 East Olin Avenue in Madison.
And the third is Thursday, September 27, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at Alicia Ashman Public Library at 733 N. High Point Road in Madison.
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