RGT Utility out of Hallsville/Red Oak began installing the new digital water meters today on Harpold Street. The installation process will take approximately 15 days to install the new meters at every home and business within the Italy city limits.
Mayor Frank Jackson would like to clarify some confusion about the installation of the new water meters, “Originally, new drive-by meters to replace our city’s current meters were to cost the city $150,000. The City of Italy’s maintenance crews would have installed those drive-by meters to help cut down on the meter cost to the city. The city would still have had to cover the cost of city employee hours, equipment and gas needs to complete the installations.”
However, the City of Italy, later agreed, to become a test/model site for the new digital meter reading system. By agreeing to become a test site, the city received a system valued at $800,000 for a discounted price of $250,000. A savings of $550,000."
Mayor Jackson added, “Our city crews could no longer install the digital meters since that would void the warranties. Although, our cost grew from $150,000 to $250,000, We saved $550,000 by agreeing to be a test/model rural town that uses the state-of-the-art digital meters.”
These digital meters are more versatile than previous drive-by meters. They can automatically send updated information hourly, via satellite, to City Hall computers that will flag the city workers of a water possible leak within the grid. City Hall would contact the property owner to confirm a leak, and if a leak is determined, City Hall would dispatch a city maintenance crew to shutoff the meter at the property.
Citizens should never tamper with the meters. The city crews are protected by a maintenance contract to handle all emergencies where as property owners would be subject to pay for any damages they might cause to their meter and/or be charged a tampering fine.
Citizens should know, once the new meters are installed, you may no longer be able to shutoff the water to your home or business unless: or
>> If you need to install a new shutoff valve after the new smart meter is in place, you will have to coordinate a time with the city to have the city crews come shut the water off which would allow the upgrade to be made. The city crews will then return to the property and turn the water back on after your new shutoff valve has been installed and after you have called City Hall to request the water be turned back on.<<
If you do not have a separate shutoff valve already installed, the City of Italy highly recommends having a new shutoff valve installed between your new digital meter and your home or business.
If you develop a leak at midnight or after hours," explained Mayor Jackson,"The city would not be able to automatically shutoff the water until the next business day, which could potentially waste large amounts of water and increase water bills drastically. Therefore, a new shutoff valve would help protect the property owner from an outrageous water bill due to a leak, particularly one occurring after business hours.
The new box lids are bolted down and may be repaired or used to control water flow by City of Italy maintenance crews who are covered under a maintenance warranty. Tampering fees could be assessed by the City of Italy and box/meter replacement costs could be charged to citizens if boxes are damaged.
Charlie Bateman, an RG3 foreman, explained, “These new ‘Smart Meters’ are top of the line. We have completed installations in Grove, Oklahoma, Liberty, Texas, Laurensburg, South Carolina, New Braunfels, Texas and in the state of Georgia. The system has been performing extremely well. We will be headed to San Antonio soon.”
RG3 Utility can now add Italy, Texas to the installation list that the company will use as a rural test/model for other area municipalities to stop in and receive a real time demonstration.
Bateman also mentioned, “As we replace the meters, we are also replacing any pre-existing leaky shutoff valves we come across. This upgrade alone could save the city countless dollars. It’s estimated that there is 7.5 billion gallons of water wasted in the U.S. annually due to faulty infrastructure.”
RG3 Utility will be upgrading meters for about 15 days and the City of Italy asks everyone to slow down and drive cautiously when passing the installation crews.
Once the installation of the new meters has been completed, in the event of a water emergency or when your ready to install new shutoff valves between your homes or business, contact city hall to make arrangements to have your water turned off. The City of Italy can send over a maintenance crew to shutoff the meter at no cost to citizens and, subsequently, be able to turn the water back on at no cost to citizens.
Replaced leaky valves and a better regulated water flow tracking system, however, could collectively save the citizens of Italy thousands of dollars on their water bills for many years to come on top of the $550,000 discount to become a test/model town for RG3 Utility.