Why is it necessary for DPS staff to remove the wires from the outside watermeter reading device?
The outside water meter reading device is obsolete, and can no longer provide accurate readings from the inside meter. The wires are removed in order for the Department of Public Service's staff to get an actual inside meter reading. They are able to do this by attaching the wires to a handheld reading device, which reads the inside meter. This reading is then used for billing purposes. After the meter reading is obtained, the wires are tucked back into the box of the meter reading device. These low voltage wires pose no hazard to the home or our residents. In addition, these wires will be used to attach the new outside meter reading device to the new inside meter once it is replaced.
Do I need to be home for the meter replacement work?
Yes, residents with inside meters will need to schedule an appointment for Vanguard workers to access their home to replace their water meter.
What is an Advanced Meter Reader?
Advanced Meter Readers (AMR) measure and record the amount of water used in a home or business, just like the electromechanical meters that have been working on homes and businesses for years. Instead of the gears and dials in older meters, AMRs use digital technology and have no moving parts.
Why is the City of Westland installing advanced meter readers?
As with any measuring device, meters can become less accurate as they age. Water meters have a useful life of approximately 15 years, after which accuracy will diminish. Advanced Meter Readers give the City the tools to provide better customer service to you and reduce operating expenses.
Will you still need to read my meter?
Yes, until installation in your area is complete, a meter reader will continue to read your meter. After that, your meter will be read remotely.
Will my billing period change?
There are no current plans to change the date that the bill is rendered.
What are the benefits for residents?
The Advanced Meter Reader gives the City the ability to read the meter remotely. Once installation in your area is complete, the City will no longer need to enter your yard, home or business to read the meter. This will virtually eliminate the number of estimated bills you receive. You will also have access to up-to-date usage information which will help you track, manage, and control your water use. Also, AMRs will help us pinpoint outages and respond more quickly.
Are the Advanced Meter Readers safe to use on homes with old wiring?
Your AMR does not impose any additional burden to the existing meter enclosure or the wiring of your home.
Will the water flow be interrupted during installation?
Installation of the Advanced Meter Reader will cause your water to be interrupted briefly (30-60 minutes) while the old meter is replaced with the new meter. We understand that some businesses and industries cannot be interrupted easily. We will work with business owners to minimize any impact on operations.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare?
Yes, provide access to the existing meter.
Who will install the meters?
Vanguard, the City’s contractor, will replace approximately 26,000 meters throughout the City, beginning in February 2015
How do I know the person at the door is a representative from the City of Westland?
Installers will carry an identification card with the contractor’s photo and name indicating they are a contractor and City of Westland logos will be affixed on contractor vehicles. The names and vehicle information of each installer may be confirmed at www.cityofwestland.com or by calling the Police Department.
How do I know when they will perform work on my house?
You will receive written notice from the City of Westland’s contractor.
Will I have to pay for the Advance Meter Reading System?
There is no added cost associated with this system. The AMR installation is done at no charge to the resident / business owner.
How does this technology work?
Advanced Meter Reading technology uses a radio frequency (RF) network. RF use is common in various everyday devices such as cell phones and microwaves. In an RF solution, meter data is transmitted by radio frequency and collected by a secure network.
How do I schedule an appointment to replace my inside meter?
The appointment scheduling process will be through Vanguard. This installation process begins with the initial postcard mailed to you. In the case of rental properties, the letter may go to the landlord or property owner. Once the postcard is received, you may call 734-259-9168 to schedule an appointment or you may schedule online at www.cityofwestland.com to make an appointment.
What happens if my work schedule conflicts with the date and times the installer is working?
The City of Westland has set the hours of installation appointments. If pre-approved by a utility official, Vanguard will coordinate an appointment after the scheduled hours Monday-Friday or on a Saturday to accommodate special circumstances.
Are there any health issues related to the new meters?
The new meters meet all Federal and State requirements banning lead which is another reason we are replacing existing meters.
The AMR’s use very low-power radio frequency (RF) waves to transmit your water usage data to City Hall, frequencies 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.
Is everybody getting a new meter?
Yes, all existing meters will be replaced with a new AMR that will include an inside meter and an outside reading device.
Will my water bill increase?
Not necessarily, however, as meters age, they tend to run slower and lose accuracy over time. Depending on the age and accuracy of your existing meter, your bill could change based on the consumption associated with the new meter.
When will I get a bill with the new meter readings on it?
Homeowners will receive their bill on normal billing cycles. There will not be a separate bill mailed for the new meter.
What if there is a leak at the meter or any problems after the meter is replaced?
Please call the Water Department at 734-728-1770.
How are the water meters read?
The meters are read on the outside of the house and transmitted to a tower site about four times a day.
How many installers will be coming to my house to perform the change out?
What happens if the installer damages my pipes?
The technician will do a thorough inspection of the valves and pipes to make sure there are no pre-existing leaks or conditions that would prevent him from conducting the installation. In the event a valve or the pipes are compromised during the installation, Vanguard will make any repairs necessary to return the plumbing to the initial condition.
What happens if the installer cannot change out the meter because the shutoff valves do not work?
In the event there is a pre-existing condition that prevents the installer from changing the meter such as bad valve or leak the homeowner will be advised of the necessary steps to follow. In some cases if the inlet valve is not working, the City may be able to shut the water off from the curb and the meter may possibly be changed even though the valve doesn’t work.
Who do I call if I have questions before I make an appointment to have the meter replaced?
Please call the Vanguard Call center at 734-259-9168.
What happens when my inside meter is replaced?
The installer will take a picture of the reading on the old meter. That photo is submitted to the billing department as documentation of the actual usage. During your next regular billing cycle, the City will issue a single bill reflecting both:
The actual reading on the old meter at the time it was replaced, and
the reading on the new meter at the time of the billing (read electronically from outside the building).
If your account has recently been estimated, you may receive a larger than normal bill. This happens when your actual amount of water usage was greater than what had been previously estimated. However, you will only be billed the difference from the last billed reading (can be seen on a previous bill) and actual usage reading the meter showed when replaced. This process is referred to as a meter reconciliation.
If your account was OVERESTIMATED you will receive a credit to your account. If your account was UNDERESTIMATED, you will be billed for the additional amount of water used. This will be a one-time calculation. All subsequent bills will be based on actual readings from the new meter.