Ira Township, MI

recoups revenue with accurate water meters

Ira Township in Fairhaven, MI used to have a variety of water meters with different reading technology—radio, touch-read, automatic reading boxes and direct-read meters. On average, the meters were 19 years old and some were as old as 40 years. “With meters that old, we were not recouping all the revenue we should be,” says Chris Hiltunen, Ira Township Water & Department of Public Service Superintendent.

Because of his 20 years of experience in the water industry, Hiltunen had the

experience to know what he wanted to get out of his new meters and meter reading system. And so the search began to find the meter that would fit his needs. Focusing on solid-state water meters, he considered all the manufacturers, and then discovered the Kamstrup AMR and flowIQ® water meters. “Finding Kamstrup was great for us, it’s the kind of system we were looking for. The meters are radio-read and solid-state, and the price point was right where it needed to be,” comments Hiltunen.

With the Kamstrup drive-by meter reading system, the time it takes to read meters has been significantly reduced. “It used to take us two guys and two weeks to read meters, but now we read meters with one guy in one day,” says Hiltunen. He calculates that Ira Township Water is saving hundreds of dollars in labor costs and that the benefits of having workers focus on tasks other than meter reading is beneficial to their operations.

Hiltunen also explains that within five years they will see the full return on their investment in the Kamstrup meter reading system.

“Kamstrup’s system is simple; we haven’t had any issues getting reads. It’s changed my perspective on meter reading systems.” 

- Chris Hiltunen, Ira Township DPS Superintendent

During the replacement period, Hiltunen and his team were testing the old meters they were taking out. Some meters had a high inaccuracy of 50%, but on average, they were losing 14% of their revenue. Because they were losing revenue, it is common that a few customers will notice the increase in their bills.
“We had one particular case where a customer noticed an increase in his bill,” recalls Hiltunen. “The property was a community of about 15 trailers and we had recently installed a new 1½” meter. The property owner commented that his bill had doubled, so he thought something’s wrong.” The water

department reviewed the account history and realized how low the meter reads were with the old meter. “With the Kamstrup water meter, which is 100% accurate, we gained 100% in revenue for this account.” For a small utility, being able to capture revenue for all the water you deliver is key to running a healthy water system.

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