Winder installing new water meter reading system

The city of Winder is in the midst of replacing its water-meter reading system with a new system allowing the city to collect information electronically instead of having a meter reader travel the city¡¯s neighborhoods, according to Winder City Administrator Donald Toms.
The city council last year approved obtaining a $600,000 loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, at an interest rate of .07 percent over 10 years, to purchase the new system, according to the authority.
The new system required putting a radio system on water towers to collect information from meters located at homes and businesses, Toms said Monday.
¡°It¡¯s great for when you have a customer in your lobby, and they want to know what their reading is. We don¡¯t have to call someone and have them drive out to the house. In a minute or two, we can have that information,¡± Toms said.
The radio equipment has been installed, but city workers will be replacing individual meters over a period of time, he said.
¡°We installed a radio-read network about five years ago, where a truck had to drive through a neighborhood to collect information via a hand-held technology. In a lot of those devices, the batteries are going dead, so as we replace those, we install the new meter,¡± Toms said. ¡°We hope by summer to have 20 percent of the system upgraded, and over the next two years, the full system,¡± he said.
The system is similar to one already being used in the Winder area by Georgia Power and Jackson EMC, he said.
Winder received a low interest rate because in 2010 it earned a Water First designation from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for excellence in water stewardship, according to a news release from the financing authority.

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