The Duncan Banner

July 10, 2013

Water meters on tap for city

Mike Smith
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — The Duncan City Council voted Tuesday to spend more than $100,000 for new water meters and related hardware as part of the often-contentious project with the company Honeywell.

The city has been unable to purchase new water meters or modules — or receive warranty replacements — for more than a year because the ones specified in the ongoing contract with Honeywell were no longer available.

The meters measure how much water is being used while the modules transfer that information electronically to a city database.

The city initially entered into a $14.2 million contract with Minneapolis-based Honeywell in 2009 that among other things allows the city to automatically collect electricity and water use from residents and local businesses.

The contract is being paid off through energy conservation savings and increased utility revenue made possible from more accurate readings of electricity and water use.

City officials say meter accuracy has improved and the project has increased revenues, but there have been some problems and delays along the way.

Duncan Public Works Director Scott Vaughn said all water meters in the city had been replaced as of August 2011, but some new housing subdivisions have gone in since then requiring more meters and modules.

Also, new ones are needed for a waterline project on Osage Road and some were needed in stock for future use.

But the modules and meters specified in the contract were no longer being made, so newer versions of the equipment that are compatible with the system are being purchased.

The Council approved $22,172 to buy 174 new modules and $80,220 for 337 new meters.

Because of the delay in getting the equipment, Vaughn said some old-style meters had to be installed and read manually — something the Honeywell project was supposed to eliminate.

“It has taken us a year to get this squared away, to know what we need to do to be able to have the meters and modules,” Vaughn said.

As a separate action, Honeywell is going to replace 8,000 water modules at its own cost soon because existing modules were not meeting accuracy specifications demanded in the contract.

In other business, the council:

n approved $26,700 for Crafton Tull & Associates Inc. for additional inspection work in the Osage waterline improvement project, and $103,373 to WW Builders for project work.

n approved the final plat for the new Windhaven housing addition in Duncan.