Here are answers to some of the common questions we receive from customers about Clear Reads and the automated meter reading (AMR) technology.
Clear Reads FAQs
What is Clear Reads?
Clear Reads is Cleveland Water’s project to install automated meter reading (AMR) technology in homes and businesses throughout the service area. We will upgrade water meters with state-of-the-art equipment that will allow us to obtain meter readings without coming to your property. Cleveland Water’s Clear Reads project delivers better customer service by providing accurate bills based on actual consumption, early leak detection, and overall improved efficiency.
How does AMR work?
Every upgraded water meter is connected to a small battery-powered device (Endpoint) that is installed on the exterior of your home or business. The Endpoint will read the meter several times each day and send a brief, low-powered radio signal to a nearby Collector. Collectors then transmit all meter reads to Cleveland Water, eliminating the need for manual meter readings.
How do you know that the meter reading is accurate?
Automated meter reading (AMR) technology is state-of-the-art. The reading at the meter is converted into a digital format using technology that has proven to be highly reliable. Similar systems are already in use in major cities including Dallas, Detroit, New York, and Washington, DC.
Are there any potential health concerns with radio signals?
No. The power and duration of the radio signal is too low to pose a health risk. The products that make up the Clear Reads system are stringently evaluated for safety and meet all standards established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Industry Canada(IC), and Institute of Electrical (IEEE) and Electronics Engineers.
How will AMR benefit me?
By ensuring that your bill is based on actual usage, AMR technology minimizes billing based on estimated reads. In addition, AMR improves accuracy, eliminating the potential for human error in manual meter reading and can help to identify any irregularities in water usage such as leaks.
Is my account information secure?
Your account information is secure. Data transmitted through the system is protected and proprietary communication protocols are used.
How will I know that you have my meter reading and not someone else’s?
The Endpoint that sends your meter reading has a unique identifier that is transmitted along with the read data. This identifier is compared electronically to your account record to ensure that the meter reading matches the meter assigned to your account.
Will the radio transmitter interfere with my television, computer, cordless phone, garage door, pacemaker or other electronic devices?
No. The technology operates as a very low-powered signal that is regulated by the (FCC) against interference. It is unlikely that it will interfere with the operation of other electronic devices.
Will there be any difference in the delivery or quality of water after my meter upgrade?
No. You will continue to enjoy the same high-quality water you have come to expect from Cleveland Water.
Am I required to participate in the Clear Reads project and have my meter upgraded?
Yes. Participation in the Clear Reads project is mandatory. Meters for all customers, residential and business, will either be replaced or modified.
Meter readers don’t come into my house, isn’t my water meter outside?
No. For most residential customers, water meters are located indoors (typically in the basement) to prevent freezing. Most homes have an outdoor remote display that is connected to the meter. This is how meter readers can read the meter without coming into your home. For -(AMR), the installer will upgrade the meter inside your home and install an Endpoint (radio transmission device) on the exterior. If your water meter has recently been replaced, you will not need a new meter. It is already AMR compatible. This meter will be modified and an Endpoint will be installed.
How will AMR technology impact my water bill? Will my bill go up?
As water meters age, they run slower and under-register water usage. AMR technology ensures that customers pay only for the water they use – no more and no less. Some customers may see an increase in their water bill. This is because the new meter is measuring water usage accurately.
Clear Reads minimizes billing based on estimated reads and ensures that your bill is based on actual usage. In addition, AMR technology improves accuracy, eliminating the potential for human error in manual meter reading and can help to identify any irregularities in water usage, such as leaks, before the problem shows up on your bill.
How much will this upgrade cost me?
There is NO COST to customers for the Clear Reads meter upgrade.
What if I have questions about the last meter read before my upgrade?
Digital photographs will be taken of the last meter reading, should any questions arise. The installer will provide these photographs to Cleveland Water and our customer service representatives will have this information available to answer your questions.
How is the installation done?
The Clear Reads installer will locate your water meter (often in the basement of your home or business). Most customers will receive a new water meter. For residential customers, replacing the meter will require installers to turn off the water briefly. This allows installers to remove the old meter and install a new one. Water service may be interrupted for commercial customers as well.
When the meter is installed, the Clear Reads installer will test the meter to ensure that it is operational. The installer will also install the Endpoint (radio transmitter) on the exterior of your home. The Endpoint will be wired to the inside water meter. The installer will then program the Endpoint using a handheld computer to allow communication between the Endpoint and your water meter. The job is complete when the installer has removed his/her equipment and any debris.
Our Clear Reads team will perform quality checks. You may be among the customers contacted to allow this second visit. Your cooperation in this effort is appreciated.
How long will it take?
In most instances, installation should take less than an hour. Some installations may take longer.
Will my water service be interrupted during the installation?
In many cases, water service will be turned off for 15-20 minutes. The installer will make certain that service is restored before leaving your home. Typically, if there is a functioning by-pass, water service will not be interrupted for commercial customers.
I have a finished basement; can I still have AMR installed?
Yes. As long as clear access to the meter is provided, Cleveland Water will work with you to install an Endpoint.