Water meter replacement program

Press release

Nov. 4, 2014
Cedar Hill starts saving water by giving residents more information

Cedar Hill residents will soon be able to track their water usage on an hourly basis. Older meters that were manually read monthly are being replaced by new ones that report water usage every hour. Residents have wanted more than one data point per month so they could better monitor their usage. Soon, they will be able to go online or use a mobile app to view their account, pay their bill instantly and make better informed decisions about water consumption, including the use of irrigation systems.

Assistant City Manager Melissa Stephens said  “As water conservation becomes a more critical issue in Texas, giving residents a way to track their hourly or daily usage helps them recognize the value of this resource. We hope to help residents see that water is a limited resource and careless consumption can impact the city’s sustainable future and their pocketbooks.”

During the pre-installation review, several meters were discovered that were not on city billing rolls. Other meters were not functioning properly and some accounts were not accurately billed. The installation of new meters is underway. All 16,000+ meters are expected to be in place by Spring, 2015.

The new meters transmit data directly to City offices, eliminating errors from manually reading each meter once a month. The hourly data from the new meters will help homeowners recognize potential leaks much sooner. Even a faucet that is not fully shut off will show up on the new system. The system is capable of recognizing anomalies and will report to the resident when usage is trending over normal patterns.

The new meters and accompanying improvements in the City’s billing system are partially funded by a federal grant and operational savings resulting from the recent system-wide analysis of water and sewer service.

Stephens said the new system is helping streamline data collection, simplifying the billing process and giving residents a much clearer understanding of their water consumption. These improvements, she said, reflect the City’s response to the desires of the community for premier customer service and the incorporation of proven new technology.

The new billing and collection systems allow residents to pay water bills in the mobile app, by automatic bank draft, online by credit or debit card or in person at the Cedar Hill Government Center.

Replacement process
In November 2014, the City’s contractor, FATHOM, began replacing the existing water meters throughout the City. As part of this process, residential water meters will be replaced with a new meter. This change is a result of the City’s initiatives to update aging equipment that is nearing the end of its lifecycle, improve water conservation and provide the data required for every resident to manage individual water usage. Important information regarding the meter exchange process is below:

Door Hangers
A door hanger will be placed at your residence up to 48 hours prior to your water meter exchange. The door hangers include contact information and related instructions should you require any additional assistance. 

Water Meter Access
The installation technicians, who are easily identified by the badge they will be wearing, must have access to your water meter box to complete the meter exchange.Typically, water meters are located in the front yard of residential and commercial properties, but in some instances, may be located in the backyard or at the rear of your property. We respectfully request you provide the appropriate accommodations to allow such access for the installation technicians. Generally, technicians will not enter your residence. However, if access is needed to enter your home, arrangements will be made with you in advance.

Water Meter Exchange
On the scheduled day, your water will be temporarily shut off for approximately 1 hour while the new water meter is installed. For all commercial properties, further coordination of the actual water shut off time can be accommodated, if necessary. Typically, all work is done within the existing water meter box, all necessary repairs are completed and each meter box is returned to its pre-existing condition. Please note: periods of lower than normal water pressure may also occur at other times as meters are replaced in your area.

After meter change out
If you have no water service after the meter change out is complete, representatives are available Monday, Wednesday through Friday 8 AM to 5 PM; Tuesday 8 AM to 7 PM at 469-272-2931. After business hours, if you have no water or low water pressure, call 469-271-9105.

Project Hours and Schedule
The installation technicians will be working from 7 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday. The project is scheduled to be completed by March 2015.

We appreciate your understanding as we make this transition to help better manage our collective water resources. Below are responses to some frequently asked questions.

If you have any additional inquiries, please contact City of Cedar Hill Utility Billing at 469-272-2931 or email our office at ubilling@cedarhilltx.com.
Representatives are available Monday, Wednesday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM; Tuesday, 8 AM to 7 PM at 469-272-2931.

After business hours or for emergency water and sewer service, please call 972-780-6643.


FAQs on water meter replacement

Why are the meters being replaced?

The vast majority of the City’s metering infrastructure will soon reach the end of its reliable life cycle. In order to ensure the accuracy of billing and water system consumption data, installing new meters is necessary.                                    

What are the benefits of an automated meter reading system?

Benefits include advanced data recording of all water consumption on an hourly basis, historical consumption data for residents, and leak detection capabilities.

Are all meters being replaced?

Yes, all water meters will be replaced.

Will my bill increase?

Because the new meters will be more accurate than the current meters, there is a possibility that your bill will be higher if your old meter was not reading properly. 

Will they need to enter my backyard?

The technicians will only need to enter your backyard if that is where your meter box is located.

How long will my water be turned off?

A typical water meter exchange takes about 1 hour. Exceptions to this process may require more time or additional work. However we will work diligently to ensure your inconvenience is minimized.

Will I be notified of when work will be scheduled?

Yes. Door hangers will be left at each property a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the scheduled service.

How do the remote meters work?

Each water meter will communicate the read data to solar-powered data collection units strategically located throughout the city.

Will there be an antenna sticking out of my meter box?

No. A new lid will be installed on your water meter box and all components will be underneath the lid.

Will they have to dig in my yard?

Not typically, however in some cases hand-digging may be required. If digging is required, repairs will be made to restore the original conditions.

How accurate are the new meters?

The new meters are accurate to 0.1 gallons per minute.

Whom can I call if I have questions?

Representatives are available Monday, Wednesday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Tuesday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM at 469-272-2931. After business hours, for emergency water and sewer service, please call 972-780-6643.