Bartlesville water meter automation project to begin this fall

A City of Bartlesville plan to install an automated water meter-reading system, stalled last month due a city failure to comply with state and city regulations in advertizing the project, is moving forward again.

During a meeting of the Bartlesville Municipal Authority Monday night, following their authorizing of a $3.8 million loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, trustees awarded a bid for the automated system's installation to Mueller Systems for $3.7 million.

According to BMA Trustee and City Councilor Ted Lockin, the bid was the lowest of six bids returned by five vendors and represented a savings of $186,000 from the lowest of bids submitted and rejected by the BMA last month.

The system to be installed — in addition to allowing the city to read every meter remotely — will give water customers a web-based portal allowing them to view and manage their own usage and the city remote shut-off capabilities for 300 meters and system expandability.

Water Utilities Director Mike Hall told 2NEWS the work to replace the city's 16,000 meters and to install the data collectors for the meters will take roughly eight months to complete with a start date in October, provided the equipment is delivered on time.

He said crews will work on a section of the city at time. Once a section is completed, the area's billing will be switched and data will begin feeding from the meters to the collectors and then to servers as city hall.

During the meeting on Monday, Lockin said that during the conversion, customers may expect to be notified that their water service may be interrupted "for a very short time" as crews swap out meters.

Hall told 2NEWS the change is expected to save the city an estimated $367,000 annually in manpower, vehicle, fuel, energy and insurance expenses as no longer will crews have to monthly visit meter sites for a readings.

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