Reading Your Meter

Automated Meter Reading (AMR) Technology

Technological advances in the form of Automated Meter Reading (AMR) have enabled utilities to eliminate reading errors, missed reads and work-related injuries, all while reducing costs and maximizing efficiency. AMR’s success relies on ERT technology, and while it could easily stand for efficient, reliable and thrifty, it’s actually short for encoder/receiver/transmitter. The ERT itself is an interface device designed to attach to and integrate with the meter register – see meter type illustration. Each device is programmed with a unique identification number to ensure all collected reads match the property where the meter is installed.

Where is My Water Meter?

Water meters are located near your hot water heater or in a crawlspace. Some meters are in meter pits, outside of the home. And in Ellicott some, if not all, are located under the houses.

Why use Automated Meter Reading?

Automated Meter Reading provides a number of advantages to both you and Cherokee Metropolitan District:

  • Privacy protection
  • Reduced costs
  • Eliminates access problems
  • Increased efficiency
  • Fewer service repairs
  • Reduces re-reads
  • Improved accuracy
  • Improved employee safety

Will the new meter affect my water bill?

Over time, meters tend to register less water than is actually being used. Since new meters work more efficiently, you may a see a slight increase in your monthly water bill. Accurate meter reads allow for better long-term budget forecasting that can help keep rates lower.

Will the emitted radio frequency affect electronic devices within my home?

No, the only time the meter transmits a signal is when it’s prompted by a Data Collection Unit. Unless a follow-up read is requested, this should only occur once a month on your scheduled meter reading date. Additionally, the ERT operates at a very low-level radio frequency and will not interfere with or operate any other electronic devices such as:

  • Garage door openers
  • Televisions
  • Cordless or cellular phones
  • Wireless computer networks
  • Internet access
  • Cardiac pacemakers

Will the emitted radio signal adversely affect my health?

No, the ERT operates at a very low-level radio frequency, much lower than radio receivers or cordless telephones, and will not cause any adverse health effects.

Storing the Data

Once installed, reads are collected using a Data Collection Unit (DCU) – handheld computer or larger Mobile Lite – containing a transceiver that transmits a low-level, narrow bandwidth radio frequency that awakens the meter. The information is compiled, converted to a digital signal, and sent to the DCU, where it will be stored and eventually downloaded into the billing system. Within a few minutes the meter will stop transmitting a signal and go back to sleep to conserve battery life.