City of Prior Lake, MN
City of Prior Lake, MN

Water Meter Replacement Project

PROJECT CONTRACTOR

Ferguson Waterworks will schedule all appointments to replace water meters related to the project.

Schedule Appointment Online or by phone: 1-855-863-3397

Online scheduling will be available once you have received your notice in the mail. If you try to schedule online too early the system will ask you to wait until your letter has arrived.

MORE INFORMATION

Frequently Asked Questions

Map of Project Zones and Dates

PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS

5/7/18 - City Council Report

6/4/18 - City Council Approval

7/5/18 - City Newswire

8/1/18 - Wavelength Newsletter

FAQ VIDEO

Water tower

Project Summary

Starting in September 2018 the City of Prior Lake will replace all of the water meter radio transmitters installed in all homes and businesses connected to the City's water supply, as well as the central data receivers installed around the City to collect water meter readings. As with the existing system, the meters will transmit readings multiple times per day. However, the new system will also transmit error codes that will help the City identify leaks or other problems with the meters that will improve customer service.

There is no direct cost to customers for the meter and transmitter replacements.

Radio transmitter replacement work will be conducted by Ferguson Waterworks and will begin in September 2018, continuing into in early 2019. As part of the project, the City will also replace existing water meters made by companies other than Neptune. Moving to a single manufacturer will reduce inventory requirements and streamline maintenance work. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about how the installation will take place.

Sheduling Your Meter Replacement

The city will be divided into four zones with installations focused first on Zone 1. Ferguson Waterworks will begin to schedule appointments in Zone 1 in early September. Notifications will be sent by US Postal Service to each address within the current zone. Please do not schedule an appointment until you have received the notice in the mail.

  • ALL appointments will be scheduled through the city's contractor, Ferguson Waterworks.
  • Schedule appointment online with Ferguson Waterworks
    • Note that you will not be able to schedule your appointment until you have received a notice in the mail.
  • Call 1-855-863-3397 to schedule your appointment with Ferguson Waterworks
  • Please do NOT call the city's Utility Billing office about scheduling issues related to this project.
  • Someone 18 years old or older must be present at the time of the appoinment.
  • Appointment times are available weekdays (including evenings) as well as Saturdays.


What happens if I don't schedule an appointment?

City water account owners will receive the following notices (if your meter has been replaced since May 15, 2018 you already have the new equipment and will not receive a notice):

  • A first-notice letter indicating that your zone is currently scheduling appointments (see the zone map for an indication of when you can expect your notification)
  • If an appointment has not been made within 2 weeks of the first notice, a second notice postcard will be mailed to the account owner's address.
  • If an appointment still has not been made within 2 weeks of the second notice, a third notice will be mailed to indicate that water will be turned off to the property if an appointment is not made within five (5) days. City code (§705.802.1e) allows for water shut-off in the event equipment repairs/replacements cannot be made.
  • A final 48-hour notice and a door-hanger placed on the front door of the residence or business before the water is turned off.

 

What should I expect from my meter change?

  • Roughly 30-90 minutes to change out the meter and transmitter (depending on accessibility and condition of pipe joints).
    • The visit will be more efficient if you find your meter and clear out a 3 ft space around it
    • Every property will have its radio transmitter replaced
    • Water meters installed before 2010 will be replaced
  • Make sure the valve on the street side of the meter is in working order before you schedule with Ferguson.
    • If not, have a plumber repair or install one so you don’t have to reschedule your appointment.
    • If you need to make repairs to the valve you can ask to schedule your meter-replacement appointment for the same time so they’re all done at once.
  • Your water bills may change after the replacement
    • Old meters can slow down as they corrode or collect grit over the years, so your bills may increase slightly with a new clean meter
    • If the battery in your old radio transmitter died the city may have estimated your most recent bills
      • If the city over-estimated you’ll see a credit on your bill after the new meter is installed. The credit covers the over-charges when the bill was over-estimated.
      • If the city under-estimated you may see a higher bill the first month after the new meter is installed. This is the “catch-up” needed to make up the difference between the under-estimates and your actual water use. Note that the meter was always working, but the dead radio transmitter meant that the City couldn’t obtain the reading.
      • One of the goals of this meter-replacement project is to eliminate such estimates.

 

Background Information

The City of Prior Lake first installed a radio-read transmitter system throughout the city in 2002. The system consists of a network of about a dozen central data collectors that collect the radio transmissions from all water meters installed in homes and businesses. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

The transmitters transmit the following information:

  • Transmitter ID number
  • Water meter reading
  • Time of water meter reading
  • Any applicable error codes (leaks, reverse flow, wiring errors, etc.)
  • No personal information about your account is transmitted at any time since the device does not contain any data related to your account

The central data collectors receive the information transmitted from each water meter and send it to the City's central server via encrypted data link. The readings are stored in the City's Utility Billing database where it is linked to your account and your bill is then calculated. An advantage of the new system is that the city can also collect readings from a portable data collector in a city vehicle, a useful tool to ensure that readings are current and accurate every billing cycle.

This is a major project for the City since the new system is expected to serve for up to 20 years. Ferguson Waterworks and Neptune meters/transmitters were selected through the City's standard bidding process from proposals by three companies. The City Council approved the selection of Ferguson Waterworks at its May 7, 2018 and June 4, 2018 meetings.