Advance Metering Infrastructure / Water Meter Replacement through Performance Contracting

An issue for many water utilities across the country is that they are leaking money through leaks in the distribution system and the inaccuracy of aging meters. While any water utility would like to recover unaccounted-for water, it has particular significance in the Southwestern US, where water rights are limited and the resource is scarce. Improved water meter accuracy and the ability to identify potential water leaks are very important. 


Significant advancements have been made in new meter accuracy. Solid-state water meters are becoming increasingly popular as they offer many benefits over traditional water meters. Solid-state water meters are designed to measure water flow rates accurately, even at low flow rates. This means that water usage is recorded more precisely, allowing water companies to bill their customers more accurately, resulting in increased revenue.  

Solid-state meters become “Smart” meters when integrated into an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. AMI is an integrated system of smart meters, communications networks, and information management systems for utilities to remotely collect customer water usage data in real-time. Benefits of AMI include improved utility operations, improved water conservation, leak detection, and enhanced security and resilience.


Despite the efficiency of AMI systems with solid-state meters, they are often costly but nonetheless pivotal to preventing non-revenue water losses and protecting water resources. The cost of system-wide replacement can be prohibitive for many water utilities because of the capital required to fund it. Performance contracting is a practical funding alternative to help water providers achieve needed water distribution system upgrades without a substantial capital outlay.

Funding is accomplished by monetizing the improved accuracy of solid-state meters and AMI leak detection systems to finance the new metering system. Solid-state meters can more precisely measure water use, thereby increasing revenue. AMI technology gives water providers real-time data with advanced analytics to identify potential water leaks and unusual water consumption, thereby reducing water loss. Automatic meter reads through the AMI system greatly reduce truck rolls, reducing operation and maintenance (O&M) costs. 

It’s the monetary sum of these three components – increased revenue from new meter accuracy, reduced water loss, and O&M savings – that finance the AMI / meter replacement project. Typically, performance contracts include a measurement and verification process that designates performance-based guidelines to validate the performance of water metering projects. With most performance contracts, the results and performance are guaranteed. 


Water utilities can benefit from system-wide water meter replacement with AMI technology in many ways:

  • Increase revenue by reducing apparent losses of water consumed but not billed.
  • Reduce meter-reading costs by eliminating meter reads on each customer’s premises.
  • Facilitate rapid and accurate leak detection throughout the system and consumer level.
  • Significantly improve the billing process and customer service.
  • Provide detailed data on water use to significantly enhance water conservation programs: customer education, drought restrictions, compliance monitoring, and enforcement.


If you want to see how performance contracting might help you pay for water meter upgrades and water efficiency improvements, visit Yearout Energy to sign up for a free consultation with our team of water professionals.

Texas Water Conservation Association Event

Our team will be attending the upcoming Texas Water Conservation Association event. Stay tuned for post-event highlights as we continue our mission to make a positive impact on water conservation. Follow the link to learn more about the event: TWCA Event.