City of Magnolia

Improves meter reading process

The City of Magnolia is a historical railroad town with the charm of small town USA. Its growing economy allows and promotes community improvements. When it came to the city’s water meters, the water department had a challenge that often comes along with older cities—meters that are in hard-to-reach or difficult-to-find locations.
“Finding the meters was a challenge for our meter reading crew,” says Paul Mendes, City Administrator for City of Magnolia. “And in our area, it’s not uncommon to get four to five inches of rain in just a few hours. The pits filled up faster than you could pump it,” says Mendes about the challenge of reading submerged water meters manually. Between the weather and the meter locations, it took 10 to 15 working days for two meter readers to read all 1,120 meters.

Mechanical versus static water meters

Several years ago, Mendes explored automatic meter reading systems and comments that he “was not particularly impressed with any of them.” A neighboring community had mechanical meters with automatic reading technology, but they were having to replace their meters every eight years. “Automatic reads that use mechanical meters are going to wear.” 

“In our city, we thought we had the best in mechanical meters, but even those were free-wheeling and not registering [water usage].” This led Mendes to look into static water meters with no moving parts for their automatic meter reading system.
Once Mendes was introduced to Kamstrup’s ultrasonic water meters and meter reading system, “I was very impressed,” he says, while mentioning how the company’s length of history overseas as a key aspect in choosing Kamstrup.

The cost of the software also played a significant role in choosing Kamstrup. “The cost of other meter reading systems was three to four times the cost of [Kamstrup’s] system.” Considering all of these factors, the city council decided the Kamstrup meter reading system was the best choice for their city.

“We recently read our meters and it worked out beautifully,” says Mendes. With Kamstrup’s READy AMR system, the city now reads their 1,120 water meters in just three hours.

Smoother billing cycles

In addition, the billing process is much smoother for both the billing department and customers. The city used to have complications with getting bills out within equal billing cycles, because of the difficulty of manually reading meters. This caused issues for customers when they would receive a bill that was for one month’s usage, then a higher bill the following month because it was for six or seven weeks’ usage.  Now that they are using the drive-by meter reading system, the challenges of getting readings in time for equal billing cycles is no long an issue.

See how READy AMR works

See a demonstration of one of our customers using the Kamstrup drive-by meter reading system