History of the AMR Program
In 2013, the utility formed a process improvement team to evaluate the benefits of an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system as a short-term solution to discontinued meters previously used. The team also recommended a long-term replacement system for reading both water and electric meters. The recommendations align with both Water and Electric's long-term vision and fit within the adopted Capital Improvements Plan and Water Fund Rate Structure.
The team's recommended short-term solution for reading water meters was an AMR system, after analyzing technical information from vendors and interviewing other utilities that currently use AMR technology.
The long-term solution was an Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system that will read both electric and water maters through a centralized data collection system. The AMR system being installed has the ability to be incorporated into an AMI system without replacing water meters, meter registers, or radio units.
There is an up-front cost of approximately $167 per meter for the AMR system. Currently, there are more than 19,900 meters in service in Ames which equates to about $3.19 million. The City's four full-time meter readers read around 40,500 water and electric meters every 30 days.