Background
 

In early 2015, about 58 percent of the city was on metered water service -- but the DOU aimed for 100 percent metered service over the following few years. To that end, the DOU launched a multi-year Water Meter Reading Automation program to install the Badger Meter (Badger Meter, Inc., Milwaukee, WI) Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) which includes smart meters, a fixed communication network, software and meter deployment handhelds. To compliment Badger’s meter deployment handhelds (developed by Trimble) the city opted to use Trimble software on the handheld devices. By combining the Trimble software and Trimble handhelds, DOU leaders determined they could achieve significant savings on the AMI installation project.

 

 
Customer Profile

The City of Sacramento is the 6th largest city in the state, with a population of more than 485,000 inside a metropolitan area of over 2.4 million residents. The city itself encompasses roughly 100 square miles. Its Department of Utilities (DOU) operates more than 1,600 miles of water pipe with more than 135,000 service connections and 2 water treatment plants.

 
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Implementation

DOU leaders selected the Trimble Unity™ software -- a unified, GIS-centric collaboration platform for managing critical utility assets and field operations – to run on the Trimble Ranger 3 handheld computers equipped with the Badger ORION SE radios. In addition, the team chose the Trimble Unity Meter Change-out app, supporting the workflows of the meter deployment, installation and maintenance operations.

With the technology solution in place, DOU staff members schedule jobs into Trimble Unity to dispatch field crews that use the Trimble Ranger 3 handheld computers. DOU crews wirelessly sync their jobs in the field, program the Badger meters, inspect and capture meter information -- including GPS locations and photos - and transmit the data to the office. This approach allows DOU to transmit information electronically, eliminating the need for slower, manual paper processes, reducing extra trips to each worksite (installations and inspections are now completed in one trip, rather than two) and improving the quality and accuracy of the data collected in the field.

 
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Benefits

$1.6 million in total projected savings

Utilizing the Trimble technology for the Water Meter Reading Automation program delivered significant benefits and value to the City of Sacramento, enabling the DOU to realize its return-on-investment (ROI) in just three months. And over the course of the five-year deployment project, the DOU estimates they will receive $1.6 million in total projected savings attributable to the Trimble Unity solution.