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FAQs - Know Your H2O

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City of Coppell water utility customers will soon begin seeing their water meters replaced as part of the City's Advanced Water Meter System project, a new service enhancement initiative to install advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) throughout the community. The city-wide installation of 13,375 new meters is projected to take 14 months and will impact every home and business in the community.

FAQ's

  1. Why did my water bill increase?
  2. When will my meter be replaced?
  3. Will I be notified before my meter is replaced?​
  4. How will a resident/business know someone is a member of the water meter team?
  5. Will the water meter team need acce​ss to my home?
  6. What will my property look like after the meter has been installed?
  7. Is there anything the resident/business needs to do after their water meter has been replaced?
  8. How does the new meter benefit me?
  9. Why is the City replacing my water meter (or why is the City replacing all the water meters)?
  10. Will I still be able to open the meter box with a standard meter key in order to turn the water off in an emergency?
  11. In older houses that don't already have a check valve, will a check valve be installed along with the new meter?   
  12. Do you have any info on if/when smart gas meters are coming? 
  13. If my bill goes up how do I know it is correct?  
  14. Can I elect to opt out of the new meter project if I do not want a new water meter?​
  15. How can I tell by looking at the meter if I have a leak?
  16. If I check the meter and then check the customer portal, will I see changes in real time?​
  17. Why is my water pressure so high and how do I adjust it to recommended levels?
  18. When will the customer portal be available?​
  19. Will the City lower my water and sewer rates?​​
  20. Will water and sewer rates increase because the City is replacing all meters?​​

Why did my water bill increase?
During the project planning, a random test of sixty-three residential meters, conducted by a third party, revealed that the current meters are registering, on average, about 90% of the water actually used. The test also found that of the sixty-three meters, five me​ters, or 8% of the meters tested, were registering no usage. Since that testing, the City has found that on average, at any given time, there are approximately 700 meters, or 5% of the system's meters, are not registering usage. 

With the more accurate meters, it is very possible that members of the community will receive bills that are higher than statements for a corresponding month in a previous year. It is highly likely that comparing consumption history of the old meter to the new meter will be significantly different for many customers because their meter was not registering all of their water usage. For some, it is possible their meter has not been registering any usage. In both instances, customers can expect to receive a larger bill than they did previously.

It is also possible that customers could receive bills lower than previous if they utilize the customer portal to monitor how much water they are using and adjust their usage. For example, many of us do not realize how much our irrigation system uses or how much water is used when we shower. Reducing the time our irrigation systems run or reducing the length of our showers could have an impact on consumption, resulting in a lower water bill.​

When will my meter be replaced?
Currently, the City is working with the installation team and project manager to establish the replacement timing of each area of town. Each customer will receive a letter in the mail providing information concerning when the water meter team will be installing in their area. Additionally, the City will call, email and text residents who have signed up for NotifyCoppell to inform residents when the water meter team will be in your neighborhood.

Will I be notified before my meter is replaced?
​Yes, you will receive a postcard approximately two weeks before the installation team is working in your neighborhood. If you have signed up for NotifyCoppell​, you will also receive a phone call roughly one week before your meter is replaced. You may contact the Utility Billing Department at 972-304-3695 to verify they have an accurate phone number for you.​ 

How will a resident/business know someone is a member of the water meter team?
The truck used by the water meter team will have a "water meter team" sticker on its door. Team members will be wearing bright yellow shirts with "PMI" on the front left corner of the shirt and will also have a picture ID badge with them. The badge also provides two phone numbers for the citizen to call to confirm the identity of the person. One phone number will contact the Utility Billing number, and the other number connects to the PMI 24-hour line. Water meter team supervisors will be wearing a bright yellow safety vest with "Water Meter Team Supervisor" printed on the back of the vest.

Will the water meter team need ac​cess to my home?
No, no one will need to enter your home. In fact, water team members are not allowed to enter homes.

What will my property look like after the meter has been installed?
The property will be left in the same condition as it was prior to installation. 

Is there anything the resident/business needs to do after their water meter has been replaced?
Residents will find a yellow door hanger on their door notifying them that they received a new water meter. The door hanger provides information concerning steps to take prior to using their water.

If you run a business, the water meter team will coordinate a convenient time to replace each businesses water meter. Each business will be provided with a door hanger when their meter is replaced.

How does the new meter benefit me?
Soon after the meters are installed, customers will have access to an internet-based customer dashboard that can be accessed from a computer, tablet or smartphone. The dashboard or customer portal will provide residents and businesses with access to usage data from their new meters. Residents and businesses will be able to more closely monitor their water consumption and adjust their usage accordingly. In addition, a leak alert can be set that notifies the account holder if the system is detecting a leak at their home or business. The customer can also setup usage alerts which will generate an email when the account registers the usage established by the account holder. In short, customers will be given the tools and data they need to better plan and "Get to Know Your H2O."

This project is the result of listening to our customers. Specifically, the purpose of this project is to provide customers with a water meter system that accurately registers usage, utilizes technology to proactively provide effective and efficient customer service, and provides our customers with easy access to water usage information.

The new system addresses the accuracy concern. During the development and investigation phase of the water meter project, a random test of existing meters found meters to be registering approximately 90% of actual water consumption. As a result, some customers were not being charged for their full water usage. The new meters are expected to register with an accuracy of at least 98.5% of actual consumption. With improved accuracy of the new meter, customers’ bills will more precisely reflect charges for actual water usage.

The new meter system will enhance the customer experience by allowing staff to provide proactive rather than reactive customer service. Currently, staff only sees how much water a customer uses once a month when the meter is read for billing purposes. The new system will allow staff to monitor the system for potential leaks and unusual consumption throughout the month. Staff will be able to research situations and contact a customer sooner than they can under the old system. In addition, staff has no way to answer consumption questions from customers who have the older analog meters. Customers with the radio meters require staff to go to the meter to download consumption information.

The new system provides staff with the ability to access information for all customers who call with questions. The new meter system also helps customers gain deeper insight and understanding on how and when they use water. The new system provides customers with access to a Customer Portal where they can:

  • Set daily usage alerts – alerts you when consumption is more than a given amount in a day.
  • Set billing cycle usage alerts – alerts you when consumption is more than a given amount in a billing cycle.
  • Set vacation usage alerts – alerts you if usage occurs when you are away on vacation.
  • See how much water is used each hour, each day, or each month.
  • Control the water portion of their Utility Bill through knowledge of when and how they are using water.
  • Click a link to pay their bill online.
  • Receive messages and alerts from the City.​

Why is the City replacing my water meter (or why is the City replacing all the water meters)?
Currently, the City uses three types of metering systems and multiple meter brands that range in age from three years to over 10 years. This variability poses operational challenges for City staff. The Advanced Meter System project will include one type of system and one brand for all meters, which will better equip City staff to maintain operations, manage inventory, and provide all customers with the same level of customer service. 

Will I still be able to open the meter box with a standard meter key in order to turn the water off in an emergency?

Yes, a standard meter key (pictured below) will open the lid and can be purchased at Ace Hardware, Home Depot or Lowe's. Customers are also welcome to stop by Town Center, 255 Parkway Blvd., during normal business hours to view a display water meter, box, and lid, and request a demonstration of how to use the key. Please note: the meter box lid has a wire that connects the transformer mounted in the lid to the meter. It is important to be careful when removing the lid so the wire does not get disconnected.​

Standard Water Meter Key​

In older houses that don't already have a check valve, will a check valve be installed along with the new meter? 
No.​​

Do you have any info on if/when smart gas meters are coming? 
Currently, it is unknown.

If my bill goes up how do I know it is correct? 
The advance water meter system brings improved accuracy as compared to the current water meters. During the development and investigation phase of this project, existing meters that were tested were found to only be registering approximately 90% of actual water used and some were registering no usage. The new automated readers are expected to register at least 98% of actual water usage.

To verify meter accuracy, every meter shipped by Sensus​ is tested for accuracy according to American Waterworks Standards before leaving the factory. All test results are attached to the meter to ensure accuracy and quality. The City has also contracted with Siemens to randomly select and test water meters each year to determine if the meters are accurately reading usage. The meters will be sent by Siemens to a third party for testing with the results shared with the City Council.

Can I elect to opt out of the new meter project if I do not want a new water meter? ​
No, all meters will be replaced with the new advanced water meters. The advanced water meter project provides:

  1. Standardization​
      • One-meter brand, one-meter reading method, and one method to populate the billing system which will create efficiencies for the Public Works employees who are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure
      • Reduces labor cost related to obtaining usage information necessary for preparing monthly bills.
      • Simplify the billing process since only one billing import method will be needed. ​ ​
  2. Customer Service​​​
      • Currently, we provide reactive customer service because we are not able to see water usage until the meters are read each month. The new system will allow Utility Billing (UB) to provide proactive customer service rather than reactive to all customers. Instead of obtaining usage once a month, UB will have access to usage each day. This will allow us to generate reports concerning leaks and unusual usage, so UB can notify customers who can then address a possible leak or rogue irrigation system sooner rather than later. ​
  3. Improved Conservation Efforts
      • ​Currently, customers have no way to view their usage and make adjustments throughout the month to control their consumption and ultimately their water bill.  The new system will help customers gain deeper insight and understanding on how and when they use water as they will have access to a customer portal where they can set:​
            • ​Daily usage alerts — alerts you to when you are using more than a given amount in a day.​ 
            • Billing cycle usage alerts — alerts you when you are using more than a given amount in a billing cycle. 
            • ​​​Vacation usage alerts — if usage occurs when you are away on vacation​
How can I tell by looking at the meter if I have a leak?
The meter data display looks similar to the numbers on a car odometer and has nine digits. The digits on the meter represent the number of gallons consumed down to the 1/100th of a gallon. The last two digits after the decimal can be used as leak indicators to detect continuous water flow through the meter.

Unlike old analog water meters, the new Sensus meters do not have a “STAR” in the center to indicate a leak. As reflected in the picture, the new meters have two digits to the right of the decimal. The furthermost digit indicates 10ths of gallons and is considered to be the leak indicator. 

If the last digit is moving, then water is flowing. Low flow would be indicated by this digit moving slowly when all valves are closed in the irrigation system and the residence.

Customers will also be able to see how much water is used each hour, each day or each month on the customer portal. Usage alerts can also be set by customers who access the customer portal.​

If I check the meter and then check the customer portal, will I see changes in real time?
No, the meter will send updates to the customer portal periodically throughout the day. ​


​Why is my water pressure so high and how do I adjust it to recommended levels?
There are properties in Coppell that experience water pressure in the 80-95 pounds per square inch (PSI) range. The pressure in the vast majority of the water system is less than 80 PSI. Residents can reduce the pressure by hiring a plumber to install a pressure reducing valve behind their water meter. If you have questions about the water pressure at your residents, please contact the Public Works Department at 972-462-5150.​


​When will the customer portal be available?
The customer portal will be rolled out within four to six weeks of a neighborhood receiving new meters. The City will provide information on how to sign-up for the portal, how to set alerts, and how to maneuver in the system and interpret the data provided. There will be how-to sessions at various City locations, how-to videos, and step by step instructions on the City’s web-page. Information concerning how to access the portal will also be mailed to customers as the portal is made available to their neighborhood.​


​Will the City lower my water and sewer rates?
Rates are determined each year after projecting consumption levels and reviewing the rates supplied by Dallas Water Utilities and Trinity River Authority. The impact of the new water meter system on consumption will need to be evaluated along with the impact of rate increases from both entities. The City can no longer absorb increases from those entities through an increase in the number of customers as the City has moved from a growth to maintenance stage.​


​Will water and sewer rates increase because the City is replacing all meters?​
No. City staff did cite the uncertainty of the impact of the new water meters on customer consumption as a reason for not increasing rates this year. The installation of the new advanced water meter system provides more accurate meters which could impact consumption. Some customers may experience higher bills because their old meter had slowed and was not measuring all consumption. However, other customers may use the new customer portal to monitor and reduce consumption, which will lower the water bill.

In addition to the uncertainty regarding the impact of more accurate meters on customer consumption on revenue, staff evaluates the impact of rate increases from Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) and Trinity River Authority (TRA) on the cost of operations. Historically, the City absorbed rate increases from both entities due to Coppell’s growth and expanding customer base. Coppell has moved from the growth to maintenance stage and can no longer absorb increases from those entities, which resulted in the rate increases implemented each of the past three years and the anticipated increase for this year. However, staff cited the following reasons to support why a rate increase would not be necessary to cover costs related to DWU and TRA.

  1. Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) settled its legal dispute with the Sabine River Authority (SRA). The impact of the settlement is that the rate increases from DWU to the City of Coppell were less than previously provided.
  2. Trinity River Authority’s (TRA) rate increase was slightly less than they originally provided to the City.

Staff concluded that the current rates, based on a similar consumption by our customers, should generate the necessary revenue to cover the operating costs of the Water and Sewer Fund as well as provide funding for the infrastructure needs of the water and sewer system. The primary funding source for the water and sewer system is water and sewer rates. The water and sewer fund does not receive any funding from property or sales tax revenue. Therefore, rates are set at a level that provide the necessary revenue to cover the cost of operations and maintenance of the water and sewer infrastructure.​





If you have questions or concerns, please call 972-304-3695.


If you are experiencing issues after the new meter

installation and need assistance, please call 877-853-2923 (toll-free).​