Florence makes changes to water meter readers

April 11, 2017 — With recent activities concerning unsolicited salespeople in the community, the City of Florence would like to take a moment and discuss one of the important programs that is occurring within the city.

Florence went through a competitive bidding process and awarded its Radio Frequency based Automatic Water Meter Reading system upgrade to Consolidated Supply Company and Olson LLC. This project includes all labor, equipment and materials necessary to transition the city’s 3,996 water meters to a fully functioning Automatic Meter Reading System. 

Of 3,996 meters, approximately 714 are currently read via touch-read, 1,879 radio read, with the remaining 1,403 meters being manual read through direct visual reading.

Representatives from Olson LLC will be seen in the community.

They will be operating their own company vehicles that will have either Olson LLC Backflow Contractor or Highland Water on the sides of their vehicles. Additionally, they will be wearing clothing or hats that say ‘Olson LLC’ on them.

The supplier, Consolidated Supply Co., and the installer, Olson LLC, have made great strides and have actually changed out a large number of the older manual read meters with new radio frequency based automated meters. Currently the installer, Olson LLC, is installing new radios on existing meters that only need a radio.

As one can imagine, changing only the radio requires nothing from our customer. The water is not turned off and all the work is confined to the meter area.

However, there are some existing meters that do need to be fully changed out. This does require the water to be turned off for a few minutes while the old meter is removed and the new water meter is being installed.

The city’s official installation procedure is to knock on the door to let the customer know what the crew is doing. If water is being used, the contractor will move to the next location until the water is no longer being used by customer.

In the event nobody answers the door, the installer visually inspects the meter to make sure there isn’t an appliance using water or to make sure the homeowner isn’t in the shower and didn’t hear the door knock.

The city and its contractors also realize that there are some customers who don’t answer the door because they assume the installer is a solicitor, and, in these cases, they rely on the visual inspection of the meter to avoid a disruption.

Florence’s contractor strives to time the 2-minute water interruption for meter change to be between usage intervals by the homeowner so no one is without water or inconvenienced. There can be rare occasions when an expansion tank is installed in the home, that a shower or appliance can be started with the water turned off at the street and water will appear to be available for a short time. This is rare and the contractor tries to avoid the situation by communicating directly with the customer.

Florence and its contractors extend apologies if a customer has experienced a surprising water interruption. 

It is the highest priority of Consolidated Supply, Olson LLC, and the City of Florence to avoid interruptions and surprises due to this meter upgrade project.

Residents are encouraged to call the City of Florence Public Works office with any concerns or questions at 541-997-4106.

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