203 E. Grand Blanc Road, Grand Blanc MI 48439 ~ (810) 694-1118
Police Administration ~ (810) 694-1111
The City of Grand Blanc is implementing new metering technology. The new system will include Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) technology that will save labor time, prevent recording errors, minimize wear and tear on vehicles, minimize the need for City employees to access residents' private property and potentially allow water line leaks to be identified earlier by analysis of data collected. AMR technology will also streamline the process of transferring responsibility for an account when a customer moves in or out. Most water meters will not need to be changed, but all homes and businesses will have a new Meter Interface Unit (MIU) installed on the exterior. This will replace the remote that is currently in place. In general, if the existing remote on your home has a dial with numbers (Picture A), the meter will need to be replaced. If your home has a remote that is a black oval or square (Picture B/C), the current meter will remain.
PICTURE A PICTURE B/C
A small box, called a Meter Interface Unit (MIU), is installed on the exterior of your home. It is connected to your water meter and transmits a radio signal to a data collector which relays the information to the City’s utility billing office. The system will provide hourly readings.
Most homes have their meter installed in the basement. Homes or businesses without a basement will usually have the meter installed in a closet or utility room. The accompanying photo shows an example of a City water meter.
Your existing meter is connected to a component located on the exterior of your property. That component will be replaced with a radio frequency meter interface unit (MIU), which collects meter usage data and remotely transmits the information to data collectors. The MIU and water meter work as a unit to detect intermittent leaks, continuous leaks, reverse flow situations and zero usage situations.
The MIU will be placed on the outside of your home and positioned to give the best transmission results to the collector. It may be in the same place as your existing touchpad, but not always.
The existing register or touchpad will be removed or covered. The new MIU will be the only visible component.
The City has contracted with Vanguard Utility Services to install the new metering components located on the exterior of homes and businesses. In cases where the meter needs to be updated, the City Public Works Department will perform the installation. Vanguard was selected through competitive bidding. Vanguard employees will wear uniforms, Vanguard photo ID badges and City of Grand Blanc Contractor badges, and the company logo will be on their vehicles. If you have any questions about the person at your residence, please call City Hall at 694-1118 to verify their identity.
Vanguard will be working by geographical area to install the MIU’s on the exterior of homes. For this, an appointment isn’t necessary. For homes that need an updated meter, a letter will be sent to you asking you to call City Hall to schedule an installation appointment. Appointments will be scheduled Monday through Friday in two hour windows. Since not all homes will need a new meter (and access inside the home) please do not call to schedule an installation until you receive a letter asking you to do so.
Installation of the MIU will take about an hour. For homes that need an updated meter, the installation of the new meter and MIU will take about 2 hours.
The project will begin April and continue through June In most cases the transition will be completely transparent and will not affect residents. The majority of work will be performed during normal business hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
In most cases, no. If your home needs an updated meter there will be a temporary service interruption during the installation – typically 20 minutes. Once water service is restored, the installer will purge any air trapped in the service line. If some air is left in the line, you may notice a sputtering sound the first time you operate a fixture. This should only last a few seconds and will not cause any harm. The first few gallons of water may be discolored.
The City Public Works Department can turn the water off at the stop box outside the home. If the valve is broken by our installer, it will be replaced.
City has contracted with Vanguard to perform work on the outside of
homes/businesses. They will drive marked vehicles, wear uniforms and
have photo ID badges. Nobody is authorized to do work inside except for the employees of the City’s Public Works Department.
If the water meter needs to be changed, yes. The water meter is located inside your house and they will be running a wire from it to the Meter Interface Unit (MIU) which will be installed on the outside of your house. The City will contact you for an appointment.
The procedure for scheduling commercial and residential customers will be the same. Larger commercial meters will require additional time and installers will work to limit interruption of services.
No. Your water meter and components do not require any maintenance by the homeowner. As before, the City will take care of all maintenance and repairs, however, you should be careful not to damage the meter or allow it to freeze.
Your water rate will not change at the time of installation of the new system. Any future water or sewer rate changes will be the result of budgeting decisions.
The installer will explain procedures for any problems prior to leaving your house. As is the case now, you should call City Hall to schedule an appointment with the City DPW.
The first water bill after your new components are installed may be higher because it may reflect a longer reading period (ten weeks instead of eight, for example). This is a one-time occurrence necessary to provide near real-time billing and to implement the automated meter reading technology. Future bills will reflect the standard eight-week reading period. Additionally, your water bill may increase after installation if your previous meter was under-reporting your actual usage. Because of the inaccuracy of the previous system, a few residents may have been only paying for a portion of the water they actually used. The new metering system insures fairness and equality for all customers by measuring and billing residents and businesses for their actual water use.
Most residents won’t notice anything has changed. If the meter doesn’t need to be changed, then the water service will be unaffected. For those homes that need a new meter, there will be interruption of service for approximately 20 minutes during the appointment.
You will need to contact City Hall prior to your appointment day. 24 hour notice is appreciated.
Bills will continue to be generated bi-monthly, however the first bill after installation may reflect a longer reading period.
There is no charge for installation and this system does not increase the cost of water service to you. Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) is designed to help control costs by increasing meter reading accuracy and efficiency.
For your peace of mind we require that an adult be present during meter change outs. The City Public Works Department employee will not enter your premises unless authorized to do so by someone aged 18 or older. He/she will not enter if your children are home alone. You do not need to be present for installation of the MIU on the outside of the house.
Meter readings obtained over radio frequency transmissions are 100% accurate.
The radio frequency can provide as many as 24 reads per day (hourly), however you will still be billed on a bimonthly basis.
Daily readings are available with AMR technology.
We will ask your meter for a new reading and call you with the new information. Customers can also obtain a reading at any time to compare their bill.
Yes! Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) will allow us to detect possible leaks in your plumbing faster and notify you of problems before they become serious – and costly. We’ll eliminate the need for manually reading meters. Accuracy will improve. In addition to speed and reliability, we won’t have to enter your home except for periodic maintenance or replacement of system components when needed. Manual bi-monthly reads at your residence will no longer be required.
Through the Michigan Drinking Water Revolving Fund by way of a forgivable loan.
Because of the equipment and frequencies being used, the information is extremely difficult for unauthorized acquisition or “hacking”.
Yes, most meters aren’t being changed and will be readable as they have been. Meters that are changed will also be readable. The MIU on the outside of the house is not readable.
The new system CANNOT be used to allocate or ration water. The system only measures and records the amount of water that flows through the meter and detects constant and intermittent usage within the property’s plumbing systems. The meter is connected to a Meter Interface Unit (MIU) which transmits a radio signal to a data collector which relays the information to the City’s utility billing office.
MIUs cannot be painted or covered because doing so would impact long-term maintenance of the system. Further, each unit is labeled uniquely and we need to be able to access that information. Painting or otherwise covering the MIU would prevent that.
The new meters meet all Federal and State requirements banning lead which is another reason we are replacing existing meters. The AMRs use very low-power radio frequency (RF) waves to transmit your water usage data to City Hall. These frequencies are similar to those used in baby monitors, cordless phones and televisions. In fact, a person standing two feet from an active AMR is exposed to up to 1,100 times FEWER RF waves than a person speaking on a cell phone.