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Meter Renewal Program
Frequently Asked Questions
The City of Safford is pleased to announce our Meter Renewal Program, we will be replacing and/or converting water, gas and electric meters to a new, automated meter read technology that will serve our customers for many years to come.  The new radio meters will allow the Cit to read your water, gas and electric meters at the same time each month, eliminating long or short month reads; and will be within 5 days of billing so consumption dats is more current.  Customers will benefit from more efficient readings and improved customer service.  The anticipated completion will be July 2016.

Currently, water, gas and electric meter readings are collected via an outdated, labor-intensive, manual read system.  The new automated meter reading program will install new, more efficient meters that can be read via radio frequencies that send consumption data directly to Business Services for billing.

The following questions and answers are provided to help customers understand why the renewal program is needed and how it will operate.

ABOUT AUTOMATED METERING INFRASTRUCTURE (AMI)

What is automated metering?
  • Automated meters measure and record the amount of water, gas or electricity used in a home or business, just like the mechanical meters that have been working on homes and businesses for years.  Instead of the gears and dials in older meters, automated meters use digital technology and have no moving parts.  This project will replace the old mechanical meters with new, state of hte art meters that will allow the City of Safford to obtain meter readings wirelessly, without coming to your home. 

Why is Safford installing automated meters?
  • The Advanced Metering Infrastructure is an upgrade to newer technology that will improve our service to you. The new meters will provide a more cost effective way of transmitting that consumption data to Business Services. In addition, this program will improve the City’s ability to respond to customer inquiries. Meter readers will no longer need to visit each meter to get consumption data, and possible leaks in the water and gas systems may be detected without visiting the premise.
  • The new meters will transmit your hourly meter reading directly to Business Services using wireless radio transmitters.  This new technology will improve customer service, and lower operation costs.

Is this new system really needed?
  • Yes.  Many of the meters are well beyond their life cycle and become less accurate as they age, therefore need replaced.

What are the benefits of the automated metering infrastructure?
  • City employees will no longer need to access your property monthly to read your meter.  We will visit only when meter maintenance is required, to discuss leak or conservation issues, or in response to customer concerns.  Customers moving to a new location, or starting or stopping their service will see expedited service in making changes to their account.

METER REPLACEMENT & INSTALLATION

Do I need to be home for the meter replacement work?
  • No, and appointments are not needed for the work to be done. The installer will check to see if anyone is home before replacing the meter. If it is inconvenient for service disruption at that time, the installer will make an arrangement for another time.
 
Will I have to pay for the new meter?
  • No, the meter is provided to the property owner at no charge.

When will you install the meters?
  • It will take approximately three years to install all of our customers’ meters. We will start installing in Spring of 2013.
  • A general schedule is provided on the City's webpage www.cityofsafford.us.  Renewal for Electric and Gas is expected to be completed in one year by July 2014 and Water in three years by July 2016.

How will I know the installer works for the City?
The City Employees are in uniforms and have ID available upon request.  If the City hires an outside contractor their information will be published on the City's website.

Water Meter Replacement
The entire water meter replacement process takes approximately 30-60 minutes to complete and includes water service interruption. 
  • In rare cases, some plumbing repairs will be required prior to meter installation. The customer is responsible for the water service on their property (typically from the shut-off valve). If defective plumbing or deteriorated pipes prevent the meter replacement, the customer will be required to make the necessary repairs.
  • The water will have to be turned off until the meter is changed. Please be advised that there may be some trapped air or slight discoloration in the water line that result from the change out. This will clear up after running your water for a few moments. You may hear some noise as the air exits the spigots and fixtures. This is normal.

Electric Meter Replacement
It generally takes less than 10 minutes to remove the old electric meter and replace it with an automated meter.  You will not need to be home, but our technicians will need access to the meter.  On the day of the installation, yoru power will be briefly interrupted.

Gas Meter Replacement
Normally there will be no interruption in your gas service.  You will not need to be home, but our technicians will need to access the meter.  Occasionally a gas meter will need to be completely replaced---in this case gas service will be interrupted and installers will contact you.

POTENTIAL CONCERNS WITH INTERFERNCE

Will the radio transmitter interfere with my computer routers, television, cordless phone, garage doors or pacemaker?
No, the radio transmissions occur on a frequency different than those used by computer routers, television signals, cordless phones, garage doors and pacemakers.  In addition, the transmissions last less than one second.

METER SECURITY

How will my personal data be protected?
The City of Safford already takes careful measures to prevent unauthorized access to computers that control critical transmission and generation system.  The use of data encryption will prevent unauthorized access to customer information or to equipment in customers' homes or businesses.  Only meter reading, meter indentification number, and meter diagnostics are transmitted.

Current Operations
A City meter read will continue to read your meter monthly until the Automated Meter is connected to the network system.

How do I know that you have my reading and not someone else's?
Each radio frequency device has a unique identification number, like a cell phone number, which is transmitted along with the meter reading.  The unique identification number is compared with your account record to ensure that there is a match.

Will it be easier for someone to tamper with my meter?
Conventional meters are vulnerable to tampering, and the City takes steps to prevent theft.  AMI Meters offer better security by providing more frequent information about usage and possible meter tampering.

Are automated meters a health concern?
Despite news coverage of consumer concerns over automated meter radio frequencies (RF), numerous reports and industry group findings show that this meter technology is very safe.  Current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards provide an acceptable factor of safety against the health impacts of existing common household electronic devices and automated meters.  Also of note is that these meters only transmit an average of one second a day.

For more information on the Meter Renewal Program, please contact:

Don Knight, Project Director

Phone:  (928) 432-4051

Kim Larkey, Business Services Administrator

Phone:  (928) 432-4052

Fax:  (928) 348-3114


Meter Renewal Schedule

By Locations (Route) & Service Type (Electric, Gas, Water)

 By Locations (Route) & Service Type (Electric, Gas, Water)

The City of Safford has 3 different metered Utilities and so depending on what services a customer has they may have 3 meters renewed/updated at different times over the next 3 years. The City is renewing different parts of our service area based on meter reading route. The City will also be replacing meters in other parts of the system during normal maintenance of the system, and will also address some individual customers on a different schedule – as an example Schools are being renewed during the summer while not in session.

 

You can tell where your premise is located by the 1st two digits of your account #; an example is:  Account # 24-012.05 would be in Route 24 which is in the Copper Canyon part of our Service Area.

The table below shows routes by Utility type with the general schedule the City estimates we will be in that area. We will be updating this table as we complete a route or if conditions require modification to the schedule. The Gray indicates that the route does not have meters for that particular utility and the Blue indicates that the renewal is complete for that Utility/Route combination. The table will only show routes that are completed or that we plan on completing within the next 4 months.

 Route No   AREA DESCRIPTION  Electric Timeframe Gas Timeframe Water Timeframe
               2  COMMERCIAL MAIN ST       
               4  COMMERCIAL -THATCHER BLVD       
             11  DALEY ESTATES       
             12  DALEY ESTATES  N/A N/A  
             13  DALEY ESTATES  N/A N/A  
             14  THATCHER  N/A N/A  
             15  THATCHER  N/A N/A  
             16  THATCHER  N/A N/A  
             17  THATCHER  N/A N/A  
             18  CENTRAL  N/A N/A  
             19  LONE STAR-MONTIERTH       
             20  RAMADA  Sep/Oct -13    
             21  VALLEY APT    N/A  
             22  SOUTH SAFFORD       
             23  SUNRISE  N/A Aug/Sep -13  
             24  COPPER CANYON    N/A Aug/Sep- 13
             25  COTA RANCHES SAFFORD  Complete Complete Aug/Sep - 13
             26  SOUTH 2OTH - PEPPERTREE  Aug/Sep -13    
             28  MESA CIRCLE  Complete Aug/Sep-13 Sep/Oct -13
             29  LEXINGTON PINE  Complete Complete Complete
             31  SAINT ROSE OF LIMA       
             32  THRIFTEE-COKE       
             35  HILLCREST       
             40  RAMADA  Complete   Sep/Oct -13
             41  JR HIGH AREA       
             42  COLONIAL VILLAGE  Sep/Oct -13    
             43  CENTRAL AND RELATION       
             44  LIBRARY       
             45  HOSPITAL  Aug/Sep-13 Aug/Sep-13 Oct/Nov-13
             46  EL PASO-SANTA FE  Aug/Sep-13    
             47  CLUFFS ADDITION  Aug/Sep-13 Aug/Sep-13 Oct/Nov-13
             48  STIRRUP DRIVE  Sep/Oct -13    
             50  LA TIERRA  Complete Complete Complete
             51  SAFFORD VILLA  Oct/Nov-13    
             52  CENTRAL AND 3RD ST       
             61  STINSON SCHOOL       
             62  1ST AVE-20TH ST       
             63  RELATION AND 12TH AVE       
             64  JOHNSON MOTORS       
             66  SAFFORD HIGH  Complete Complete Aug/Sep -13
             71  EAST MAIN       
             72  PEPSI       
             73  8TH ST & 8TH AVE       
             80  S 1ST AVE-NORJEAN WAY  Sep/Oct -13    
             81  SOUTH THATCHER  N/A    
             85  JOBI'S  N/A N/A  
             86  FCI LINE  N/A N/A  
             87  ROCKY LAKE 1  N/A N/A  
             88  ROCKY LAKE 2  N/A N/A  
             90  14TH DRV  Complete Complete Complete
             91  SOLOMON-SAN JOSE  N/A N/A  
             92  SOLOMON  N/A N/A Oct/Nov-13
             93  SOLOMON BARNEY LANE  N/A N/A  

Please click on the following links to see corresponding maps: