Monday, January 30, 2023

New Water Meter

 The City of Austin, which provides our water and electricity, is moving to using "Smart Water Meters" instead of the old analog ones that they installed when the house was built 35 plus years ago.  This provides (at least) daily updates to how much water has been used by sending the meter reading directly to a box on a utility pole somewhere and from there to the City's computers.  This eliminates the need for an actual person to come around once a month and read the meter, and should then mean that meters are read on time and accurately.  The City has had an ongoing problem with getting the meters read accurately.

The information from the City said they would send us a post card saying when they would be out to exchange meters, but I happened to notice there was a guy at the meter about 9:15 AM.  By 10:00 AM he had switched out both meters -- ours and our neighbors -- which are under our water meter cover.

He switched out ours first.  I turned off the water to our house using the homeowners switch.  He turned off the water on the City's side.  Then he undid two nuts holding the meter in place, took out the old meter, replaced a washer and put in the new meter.

He turned the City's switch back on; I turned on our switch, and there was water running to the house again, but now thru the new meter.  

He did the same to the neighbor's meter.

Then he plugged the "Meter Transmission Unit" into the new meter, and screwed it down on the underside of the new cover for the meters.  The new cover is plastic, since a metal cover like we used to have would prevent the radio waves from going from the MTU to the Data Collection Unit (where ever that is).

That set everything up and running.

Unfortunately, the MTUs mounted on the bottom of the cover mean that it needs an inch or two of clearance, and we don't have that.  Specifically, our meter, and the nut and cut-off valve on the City's side of the meter stick up too high and prevent the cover from closing.  I think this is because the tree root under the meters have lifted them up (just as it has lifted up the driveway at this point).

So he closed the cover as best he could, I put a traffic cone on top of the cover, and he said he would report the problem and they would send out another crew to raise the support box for the meters, so that there would be enough clearance.

I made sure to capture the meter before it was removed; just to prevent not knowing the meter reading (6134480) when it was replaced.  The new meter is supposed to start over at 0000000.