Automated Meter Reading (AMR)
Dallas is Upgrading to AMR
Automated Meter Reading, or AMR, is the technology of automatically collecting data from the water meter and transferring it directly to City Hall for billing, troubleshooting, and analyzing. This will eliminate the cost of manually reading each meter every month and will help us provide a higher level of customer service and more accurate billing. This system also has the capability of providing timely leak detection within individual homes and businesses.
Over time, meters tend to register less water than is actually being used. Since new meters work more efficiently, some customers may see a slight increase in monthly water usage on their water bill. Accurate meter reads allow for better long-term budget forecasting and can help keep overall rates lower.
The existing meters in the water system range from 2-50 years in age and must be periodically replaced to ensure proper operation and accuracy. Meters over 20 years old should be replaced. More than half of the City's meters are over 20 years old. The City of Dallas still needs to replace meters over time, and implementing AMR was an opportunity not only to accomplish that, but to also take advantage of existing technology to improve our operational efficiency.
Commonly Asked Questions About AMR
How Does AMR Work?
There are several ways to read a water meter remotely. We have chosen a system that uses a small, lower-power radio transmitter in the meter box. The readings are then transmitted directly to City Hall. They are powered by batteries that typically last 10-20 years.
Can an AMR unit be used to suddenly turn off my water service?
No. AMR units only record the amount of water that passes through the meter. It is not possible for an AMR unit to terminate water service to a water customer.
Is AMR reliable?
Yes. AMR has been in use for several years in water districts across the country. It is a proven technology with extremely high accuracy.
Is my account information secure?
Yes. The only data being transmitted is your meter number, the meter reading, and possible leak alarms. Personal customer information is not transmitted.
Will AMR radio transmission interfere with my televisions or phones?
No, AMR operates on a different frequency than your household devices and will not interfere.
How do I know my water bill is accurate?
Your water use is still measured by a water meter, which works the same way as the older meters. If your new AMR becomes detached or malfunctions, the meter continues to record water use. The meter would be read manually and the malfunction repaired.
How will I know that you have my meter reading and not someone else's?
Each AMR device has a unique identification number, which is associated with an individual meter. The unique number is compared to your account record to ensure a match.
Who is responsible for finding and fixing leaks on my property?
While AMR can help alert you to leaks on your property, it is still the customer's responsibility to find and repair leaks that occur between the meter and house. Our new system may help to identify possible water leaks and provide additional information on locating them.
Is there danger from the wires if there is water in the meter box?
No, the wires are safe. However, customers should never remove the lid of the meter box. Call us at 503.831.3508 during business hours if you need to get inside your meter box. We can provide staff to help you.
Can a customer still appeal their bill?
Yes. The customer appeal process will remain available. With AMR, we will now be able to provide you with daily and hourly usage to investigate incidents of high water use. We are often able to help a customer establish when use occurs. We may also be able to see how long a leak has been running.
Can a customer "Opt Out" of having AMR?
No. There is not an "Opt Out" option.
Is this new system really needed?
The City of Dallas Water Department strives to provide the best possible customer services, high reliability, and makes every effort to keep rates down. AMR will help us achieve these goals.
For more information about AMR, please call the Public Works Department at 503.831.3559.