Meters, Meter Reading, and Meter Tampering

It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain access to the meter pit (or inside meter—by appointment) and shut-off valve. Accounts are subject to fees for failure to maintain safe passage, failure to allow meter access, meter tampering, and manual reading. It is unlawful to turn water on, or to turn water off, or to tamper with meters and metering equipment without explicit permission from the District. Opening your meter pit or otherwise moving (touching) your metering equipment can result in a meter tamper and a tamper fee will be assessed. Meter tampering is reported by the equipment to the District and must be cleared or repaired. Shut-off valves must always remain uncovered and accessible for emergencies and for District access.

Cellular Meters — 2022

In 2022, the District will be switching to Orion Cellular LTE Endpoint meters with Eye on Water transponders. The Beacon Cellular Meter Policies & Procedures are now available, along with detailed information on the Orion Cellular LTE Endpoint.  There are several benefits to moving to cellular meters:

  • The meters installed in 2013 and 2014 operate on 3G networks still in use by cellular carriers; cellular carriers plan to sunset these 3G networks by the end of 2021. The bandwidth of legacy (3G/4G) networks is being repurposed for 5G.
  • An endpoint upgrade is required to move to current cellular networks.
  • All customers will have the ability to see their usage at any time and set alerts for leaks and high usage, which will save money by not needing to wait until the end of the month for Operations to read the meters (data will be pushed every 15 minutes).
  • Legacy networks were subject to consumer demands, but the 5G approach supports communication on dedicated networks.
  • The new sensors detect pressure, temperature, and water quality.

Related Links

Eye on Water Transponders

Beacon/Eye on Water transponders became available to District customers in September 2016. These transponders utilize the Orion Smart meters but transmit data via cellular networks daily vs. monthly when meters are read by Operations by driving by each residence. Customers have access to meter reads, usage, and alerts through an online and/or mobile application called Eye on Water. These were rolled out early in 2016 in a pilot program and have been available since that time.

ALL customers will be upgraded to Eye on Water with the new cellular meters in 2022.

Related Documents

Smart Meters — 2013–2014

All District’s meters were converted to Orion “smart meters” in 2013 and 2014. The meters have leak detection features and tamper detection features. Smart meters have very high accuracy standards even at very low flows. They also have a data storage component allowing storage of hourly read data for about 90 days. This feature is what allows a “usage profile” to be collected.

Meters are warrantied for accuracy up to 2.5 million gallons of water, according to American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards.

Every Orion meter is tested prior to leaving the factory, and if it does not exceed the AWWA accuracy standards, it never leaves the factory. Each meter is tested at three flow rates per AWWA standards. The sales representative can look up each meter’s serial number and cross-reference it to its specific test results for a limited number of time after factory shipment. Two District meters were tested by a Certified Tester, showing very high accuracy.

These meters do not transmit continuously over a wireless network. Instead, they only transmit a signal when they are queried or “interrogated” by our meter reading equipment. The interrogation lasts for less than 5 seconds per month and occurs silently when the meter reading equipment comes close enough.

See below for detailed articles about the Orion metering system and a report about smart meters as used by utilities in general.