Water meter change-out program offers greater accuracy for Lacombe residents


Manual-read water meters in Lacombe are being replaced with new radio-read water meters, like the one pictured above, over the next four years.

The City of Lacombe is currently in the midst of a four year project to replace all manual-read water meters within the city with a more efficient radio-read system, so that staff can obtain water meter readings remotely. The municipality contracted Neptune Technology Group to install the new meters, and installers have been working on an area by area basis since May 2014.

There are a number of benefits to this new system. The Neptune meter is easy to install and in most cases will fit into the same space as the old meter. Also, the meter and the radio-read technology are all built into the water meter unit.  There is no requirement to run meter wire from the meter to any point either inside or outside of the building.

Built into each meter is 90 days water use data memory; making it easy to generate reports showing long-term water usage. The meters also incorporate an alarm system that ‘flags’ the meter if the following conditions have been present in the past 90 days – no water flow, reverse water flow, water leak detection and water meter tampering.

Between May and June 2014, 1,095 manual-read residential meters were switched over to the new meters after meter readings were taken by the City in April. A final read of each meter was taken during the changeover process.

The billing software for the new radio-read water meters came online at the end of September. In the months leading up to this, utility customers were billed monthly based on an estimate calculated on their previous 12 month’s water usage. Now that the software is operational, customers are now being billed through the new meters, which provide actual monthly reads.

In the current utility bill, customers are being charged for the full water consumption on the new meters from the time of installation. Residents will also notice credits received for the estimated readings – based on the old meters – from the changeover date to the end of August, when the new utility billing software came online. Customers will not receive credit for water usage between the City’s read in April and the final read taken when the manual-read meter was removed.

“We thank residents for their patience and understanding during this transition period, and would like to assure everyone that moving forward their utility bills will reflect their actual monthly water usage,” said Chief Administrative Officer Norma MacQuarrie. “Please note that residents who have not yet received the new radio-read meters will continue to receive alternating estimated and actual meter readings on their monthly statements.”

If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please contact the Utilities Clerk at City Hall by phone at (403)782-6666 or at utilities@lacombe.ca

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