Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Village of Shorewood replacing meters?
The useful life of a water meter is approximately twenty years. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) requires that residential water meters be replaced on a twenty-year cycle. The Shorewood Water Utility began its last meter replacement program in 1995.
Do I have to have my meter replaced or can I choose not to participate?
Each residential meter must be replaced according to PSC requirements. The meter is the property of the Shorewood Water Utility and there are no protocols for residents who may wish not to have a meter replaced. The replacement of the meter is required for continued water service; failure to allow access will be addressed in accordance with Wisconsin Administrative Code PSC 185 (2)(f) and may include disconnection of service.
What is involved in a typical meter replacement?
The actual replacement will be performed by a contracted installer(s). All installation personnel will present a Shorewood-issued photo identification badge and driving a marked vehicle. Names and photos of all installers will appear on the Village’s project web page which residents can access to verify the installers if they so choose www.villageofshorewood.org/meterinstallers.
The installer will need access to the meter. An adult (18 years of age or older) must be present. Please be sure there are no obstructions around the meter that will hamper access. Under normal circumstances, the installation will take approximately 30 minutes. Water service will be interrupted during this time.
Will anyone need to enter my home? Must I be home at the time of the replacement?
Yes, in all but a handful of Shorewood homes the meter and main water shut off valve are located inside the home. The owner or an adult representative (age 18 or older) must be present during the replacement.
Where is the meter located? What if it isn’t accessible?
In 99% of Shorewood homes the meter is located in the basement. If the meter is inaccessible (no clear access due to furniture or stored items, or walls or structures block access) the installer will leave you instructions on how to make modifications so the change-out can occur and provide information on how to reschedule your appointment.
When will this project begin? How long will it take?
The meter change out portion of the project will begin in August 2021 and be substantially complete by March 2022.
What is the cost to me?
There is no cost to the homeowner for a standard meter installation. However, Per Shorewood Village Code §514-17, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the plumbing and valves (referred to as the meter setting) that allow the water to be shut off at the meter. Any costs related to repair or replacement of the meter setting are the responsibility of the homeowner. Please visit www.villageofshorewood.org/watermeters for additional information related to homeowner responsibilities.
Do I need to have any plumbing work done in conjunction with meter replacement?
This depends upon the age and condition of the plumbing in your home. Per Shorewood Village Code §514-17 , it is the homeowner’s responsibility to provide an operable shut-off valve on each side of the water meter. If the installer cannot operate the valves to shut-off the water, a pipe freeze repair method may be used; if this method is not successful, the homeowner may be directed to have this work performed at his/her expense. For more information on pipe freezing, please visit www.villageofshorewood.org/freeze.
Who will be replacing the meter?
The Village of Shorewood has contracted with Midwest Meters and Vanguard Utility Service for much of the meter replacement work. Information on the installation team will be available at www.villageofshorewood.org/meterinstallers.
When and how will my replacement be scheduled?
Meter replacements are anticipated to begin in August 2021. In July, you will be mailed additional information about the project and a request to schedule your installation appointment. Appointments can be scheduled by telephone or online; day, evening and weekend hours will be available.
Will you be doing anything else inside my home?
The meter transmitter (touchpad, currently located on the exterior of your home) will be replaced with a new reader at the time of meter installation. The installer will also be performing a Wisconsin DNR-mandated cross connection inspection to ensure that all connections to our water system are properly protected. For more information on cross connections, please see www.villageofshorewood.org/crossconnection.
What type of system is being installed?
The Village selected a system provided by Midwest Meters which features Badger meters with Aclara Automated Reading Infrastructure (AMI).
What is Advance Meter Infrastructure (AMI)? How does it work?
AMI is an integrated system of meters, communications networks and data management products that enables two-way communication between utilities and customers. Each meter records consumption of water and communicates the information to the Utility.
A Meter Transmission Unit (MTU), connected to your water meter, uses low-powered radio frequency (RF) to transmit data to the Shorewood Water Utility’s billing software. This system reduces the need for manual reading and can detect leaks much sooner than the current system.
Are there benefits to AMI?
An AMI system eliminates the need for manual readings which saves labor and time. Automatic readings are collected on an hourly basis, as opposed to the currently quarterly data collection frequency. By collecting meter reading information more frequently, both the Village and its customers can be alerted to abrupt or abnormal changes in water usage much earlier than previously possible, potentially saving customers hundreds or even thousands of dollars from an undetected leak.
Is AMI safe?
The Aclara system uses low-powered radio frequency (RF) to transmit data. The technology fully complies with U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines for human exposure to RF energy. The endpoints have been certified by the FCC and tested in accordance with Title 47, Part 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
The Food and Drug Administration and the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health have determined that the RF emitted by AMI systems is non-iodizing radiation, which doesn’t have enough energy to change the structure of molecules. That means that they are less harmful than X-rays and even ultraviolet light. Some devices that use non-ionizing radiation include TVs, radios, and remote controls. Please see the statement from the North Shore Health Department at www.villageofshorewood.org/watermeterNSHD.
Will the transmitter radio signal interfere with other electronics?
No, the radio transmission operates in compliance with FCC regulations to avoid interference with electronic devices.
Will my information be secure?
Yes. Each radio frequency device has a unique identification number which is transmitted along with the meter reading. The unique number is compared with account records to ensure a match. No personal account information is transmitted via radio frequency.
How accurate is my new meter?
The Badger Recordall© Meters meet or exceed the American National Standards Institute and the American Water Works Association standards for accuracy. All meters are tested and calibrated at the factory before shipping and come with a 20-year material and accuracy warranty.
Will the Village be monitoring my water consumption?
No. The Village does not actively monitor water consumption by individual users but the system is designed to notify the utility if hourly consumption readings increase significantly and consistently, indicating a possible internal plumbing leak.
Will the billing change?
Shorewood Utility bills will continue to be issued quarterly; however the new meters will record usage in gallons rather than cubic feet and the billing units will be gallons.
What if I have other questions?
Please contact the Department of Public Works or visit our project web page at www.villageofshorewood.org/watermeters.