This article was written regarding work conducted under legacy company names: Continental Mapping, GISinc, or TSG Solutions. These three companies merged in January 2021 to form a new geospatial leader Axim Geospatial.
Opelika Utilities, located in Opelika, Alabama, serves nearly 20,000 customers. Their mission is to assert a broad, long-term view of the water needs of Opelika’s citizens and industries to assure that facilities, sources, and manpower are provided for pure, plentiful water now and for the future.
With drought conditions worsening in the South, Opelika Utilities began taking a closer look into potential revenue issues and how to find solutions that would help save the utility both time and money. While many utilities are concerned about water loss due to leaky infrastructure, losses of this kind are under accepted industry standards. Instead, non-operational meters are the primary concern for non-revenue water.
Each day there is a report of over 14,000-meter readings and every month, one individual in the office would spend 8 hours going through the report by hand to look for high readings and potential non-operating meters. As anyone could imagine, this process led to the possibility of a lot of information slipping through the cracks and an estimated revenue loss of $100,000 every month. They needed an automated way to review meter readings, analyze, and automatically generate work orders so that non-operating meters could be attended to.
Axim Geospatial worked with Opelika to build a fully automated web GIS-based system, which runs a script to recognize when meters showed the same reading for three months in a row. The script also recognizes irrigation meters and does not evaluate these during winter months. The system automatically flags non-functioning meters and notifies an Opelika Utilities manager, via email, to alert a service crew to check the meter to determine if it is, in fact, non-operational - or determining other causes, such as-needed maintenance. Both new and previously identified non-operational meters are displayed on an operations dashboard so that managers have a visual understanding of where these issues are occurring. This provides additional context to help determine potential causes, priorities, and desired responses. Opelika Utilities is now able to quickly identify, inspect, and replace non-operational meters to reduce revenue loss.
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