The Town of Okotoks has modernized their water infrastructure to provide the community with better water conservation and leak detection information. The meter and transmitter use radio frequency (RF) and new meter technology. The wireless devices ensure more accurate billing, reflect real-time water consumption and provide more insight into your consumption habits. RF and smart meter technology also helps identify leaks and store readings for a 45 day-period. Water meters typically have a lifespan of 30 years,
Digital Water Meter Program
Starting this Fall 2017 your water is going digital!
Access to the online portal to sign-up for an online account will be available in the Fall of 2017.
What is the customer portal?
The customer portal is a communications tool for customers to better understand their water consumption and is used to proactively notify customers of water use. The customer can also set thresholds to receive alerts if there is continuous water consumption that may indicate a household leak. The dashboard includes a notification section for municipal messaging and features the watering schedule for quick reference.
What information can I see on the portal?
You can view your usage information in a variety of ways – from calculated hourly readings to actual monthly and annual values. Details include:
- Average daily usage
- Average billing cycle usage
- Hourly interval data
Can I see the data in gallons vs. cubic meters?
The portal measures water down to the litre while billing is rounded to the nearest cubic metre (1000L). The portal does allow the ability to change the units of measure displayed by clicking the gear icon on the page.
Is my information protected on the portal?
Yes, the portal is built with the latest technology to keep your account safe and the portal does not store any financial information. Identifiable customer information is never stored or transmitted by the advanced meters.
Your meter reading data is encrypted with the same technology many Canadian financial institutions use. In addition to the encryption, only a unique code that identifies the transmitter in the advanced meter and your read will be sent to the Town of Okotoks.
Does the portal have other features beyond showing my consumption data?
You can set up certain usage thresholds. Then turn on email notifications to be alerted if your thresholds are exceeded or other settings are triggered.
What types of water consumption thresholds can be set up?
- Daily usage alert
- Billing cycle usage alert
How will I receive alerts?
When you set up the account you will enter an email address (required). You can also log into the portal to see alerts on your web browser.
Can I arrange for someone else to receive alerts?
Yes, you can add additional recipients to your account. This is useful if you are out of town or want to be notified of potential problems at a family member’s property, for example.
What can I do with the usage details?
You have the flexibility of exporting this data into files for home use monitoring. The temperature and rain data, along with your usage information provides context to see if your usage is as you’d expect, given certain weather conditions. Data can be viewed in 24 hour, 7 day, 30 day and annual time frames.
Can I set up more than one account or meter on the portal?
Yes, some customers may want to monitor multiple properties so you can have more than one account or meter. You will be asked security questions to verify that you are authorized to add the additional account or meter.
Can I view the portal on my mobile device?
You can view the portal from any of the most common mobile, tablet and computer browsers. Please install your browser updates for the best experience.
How do I know if my information is entered correctly?
The portal system will send a confirmation email to the address provided.
What are meter nicknames?
If you have more than one meter on your account you can nickname it to remind you which meter it is.
What if there is no data for a meter?
The dashboard only has access to data from the new meters. Your utility account number will not change. You will only be able to see data going forward from when your new meter has been activated.
What happens to my account if I move away?
When you move away, the corresponding portal to your water meter will be deactivated as soon as your account becomes dormant and you will no longer have access to the data. Historical consumption previous to a future owner of the same property will not be available to the new customer. The utility will still have access to the full historical consumption.
What if the hourly and daily water consumption readings from the meter are not showing up on the dashboard for a longer period of time?
If the radio transmitter has not been heard by the tower receiver for an unexpectedly long period, the hour or day that the consumption occurs can take time to backfill and update. Don’t worry, the meters are calibrated and always measure correctly so that the bill sent each month is accurate. If the duration is too long and the hourly information cannot be generated, the actual meter reading is used to catch up the portal.
We have upgraded the current water meter infrastructure to include AMI radios so they can be read remotely from a tower-based system. Water meters have been read via radio frequency for more than 10 years in Okotoks. Older meters can lose accuracy over time, the new meters are more accurate and can measure water down to less than a litre versus a cubic meter.
How is the AMI technology different from the current meter system used now?
AMI stands for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. AMI technology enables two-way communication over a fixed network between the utility system and the metering endpoints. AMI water meters remotely transmit water-consumption information for individual water accounts.
How often are the AMI devices read?
AMI devices transmit information using radio frequency (RF) signals to let us know how much water is being consumed in a household or building. Typically installed in the basement, these meters and radio transceivers allow us to take a wireless reading of your water meter from up to 800 metres away. RF energy is only transmitted when the meters are being read, which happens on a bi-monthly basis. Apart from that, the device tracks your water consumption without transmitting RF energy.
How accurate are the AMI meters?
Watch this animated video that speaks to the accuracy of the Sensus meters. Having more accurate meters in place will help customers become more aware of their usage and encourage them to fix leaks. Many old meters don’t register a small toilet leak which will lead to unnecessary water consumption and add unnecessary costs to the consumer’s utility bills.
Why is the water meter located inside my home and not outside?
The water meter is installed in the home or business to protect it from freezing during the winter months.
Are the radio frequency waves dangerous?
- Radio frequency (RF) emitted by the meters is well below the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and lower than levels produced by other common household devises like cell phones, baby monitors, satellite TVs, and microwaves.
- Sensus meters and automation end points typically transmit radio signals for a very small amount of time during a day for about one-seventh of a second, approximately once every five hours, 99.999% of smart meters transmit for less than one minute per day. The MXU transmission power is less than 2 watts and the device transmits in the 900-950 MHZ range.
- Radio signal power decays as the *square* of the distance from the device, so the transmit power at 2 meters from the device is one-quarter of the power emitted at 1 meter from the device. The RF exposure from a meter drops by a factor of 100 when you move from a distance of 1 foot to 10 feet away.
- The Government of Canada offers the following information on radio frequency electromagnetic energy at Health Canada. Health Canada has concluded that exposure to RF energy from smart meters does not pose a public health risk.
- Learn more about Radio Frequency at https://sensus.com/rf/. Radio frequency (RF) emitted by the meters is well below the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and lower than levels produced by other common household devises like cell phones, baby monitors, satellite TVs, and microwaves. No credible evidence shows any threat to human health from RF emissions at or below RF exposure limits developed by the FCC. Sensus metering and automation products and technologies fully comply with the FCC standards and guidelines for environmental exposure to RF. The FCC also adopted the specific absorption rate (SAR) limits for human exposure to RF emissions from devices operating within close proximity to the body as specified within the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the IEEE guidelines which are available online. The exposure guidelines are based on thresholds for known adverse effects, and they incorporate prudent margins of safety..
What is the Water Meter Replacement program?
The Water Meter Replacement Program provides state-of-the-art water meters to:
- Detect low flows and notify customers of potential leaks via the consumer portal
- Analyze data to spot trends, troubleshoot and assist with future planning
- The Town receives water consumption data without the need to travel on Town streets, reducing the Town's carbon footprint. The technology allowing crews to focus on detecting and repairing leaks and customer service
- Installations have taken place since September 2016 and will continue until September 2017 until all water meters have been upgraded in town
Why does my meter need to be upgraded?
If you do not currently have an advanced meter installed in your home, you will be required to have it upgraded. This is a continuation of the Town's water metering program which contributes to the Town's goals for water conservation and efficiency. The program also supports the Town's objective to improve utility infrastructure and operating expenses.
The new meters will allow for enhanced and efficient meter reading and data analysis of residential and commercial water use. The information will help the Town budget more effectively for operating and maintenance of the water system.
What are the benefits of this program?
Benefits of the Water Conservation and Leak Detection program include:
- Detailed historical usage information - the AMI system includes access to detailed historical use data to help troubleshoot for water leaks on your property
- Water usage monitoring - You will have access to a consumer portal where you can monitor your water usage and discover possible low-flow leaks that need to be addressed; it will give you the data to support your conservation efforts at home
- System-wide efficiency and cost savings - The system reduces the Town's operating expenses
- Increased Privacy - The Town can read your water meter without entering your property
There are two types of installations in this program. Those customers that require an installation inside their home and those customers whose installation will be outside of their home. Corix will provide each customer with a letter outlining which installation is required. All installations inside the home will require an appointment. Information on how to arrange your appointment will be provided at that time. Once you have received your letter, please call and book an appointment at your earliest convenience.
Once you have received your letter, you can call the number (1-855-455-3696) and one of our representatives will be happy to assist, or you can book an appointment online. Please ensure that the area around your existing meter is free of clutter, debris, and any other obstruction. An adult (18+ years old) must be home during the installation to provide access and sign off on completion. Installations take approximately 30 minutes to one hour depending on the requirements of the particular residence or business. During this time water is typically unavailable for approximately 10 minutes.
There will be no changes to the billing process and no additional charges will be added to customer bills for this program. Customers will continue to receive their water bills in the same schedule as prior to the upgrade.
What are my billing periods?
Billing periods are bi-monthly. The following chart will assist you with the utility billing timelines:
COVERS UTILITIES DURING
1st week of January
November 1 to December 31
1st week of March
January 1 to February 28
1st week of may
March 1 to April 30
1st week of July
May 1 to June 30
1st week of September
July 1 to August 31
1st week of November
September 1 to October 31
Why is the usage amount different on my bill than on the portal?
The online consumer portal default measures water consumption in litres, however, on the Town Utility bill, the water consumption is billed by cubic metre. The portal does have the option to display water consumption in cubic meters.
What is the Utility rate structure in Okotoks?
The 2017 Utility Rate Structure (bi-monthly charges) are as follows:
Residential Water Basic: $14.66
Residential Water Metered Consumption: $1.51/cubic metres water for the first 23 cubic metres, $1.84/cubic metres for water consumed between 24-68 cubic metres, $2.05/cubic metres for water consumed in excess of 68 cubic metres per billing period.
Residential Sewer Basic: $15.26
Residential Sewer Metered: $2.05/cubic metres of water consumed per billing period.
Water used for irrigation purposes will be exempt from the sewer consumption charge on the condition that a separate water meter that measures only irrigation water must be installed and approved as per the Town’s specifications (for multi-unit only).
Storm Sewer Fixed Rate: $11.55 Mandatory charge
What happens if there is an ownership change of a home or business?
To change the ownership of a home or business, you can fill out the Utility Change of Ownership form online at https://forms.okotoks.ca/Forms/Utility_Change_Of_Ownership or call the Utilities Clerk at 403-938-8937.
How do I disable my account?
To disable your account, you can fill out the Utility Change of Ownership form online at https://forms.okotoks.ca/Forms/Utility_Change_Of_Ownership or call the Utilities Clerk at 403-938-8937.
What if my bills are getting higher?
Please call the Utilities Clerk at 403-938-8937 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I sign up for Utility billing?
To sign up for Utility billing, you can fill out the Utility Change of Ownership form online at https://forms.okotoks.ca/Forms/Utility_Change_Of_Ownership or call the Utilities Clerk at 403-938-8937.
Can I pay my bill online?
You can pre-authorize the Town of Okotoks to draw and issue cheques payable to the Town of Okotoks for payments of the bi-monthly water utilities account at https://forms.okotoks.ca/Forms/PreAuthorized_Payment_Form_Utilities.