Smart Meter FAQ

Coming soon

Smart Meter Program FAQ

What is a Smart Meter and how will it benefit residents?
It's similar to other smart tech, like a smart watch for instance that provides two-way communication and data a standard watch can't possibly do. The smart meter will connect to the existing ComEd/Itron smart grid mesh network to provide far more accurate information about water usage. An online customer portal will allow residents and business owners to access up-to-the-minute water usage information. So, if the portal indicates water usage while no one is home, it could mean a toilet is leaking or a garden hose is still running. 
Will I need to connect my smart water meter to my internet service?
The smart meter does not rely upon personal or business internet service. All four million homes in Illinois are already part of the ComEd/Itron SmartGrid Mesh Network. Unlike previous meters that send usage information via radio frequency, the ComEd mesh network relies on wireless internet transmission.

Network, and the new water meters simply use the same service to send data. 
Can my Smart Meter get hacked?
It's not an attractive target for cyber criminals. There's no personal information transmitted, just sonar pings indicating water usage and flow rate. The Village has multiple safety checks in place to minimize any vulnerabilities, and we're using the ComEd SmartGrid mesh network that has been in operation since 2015.
How does replacing 8,000 water meters benefit the Village?
The EPA is beginning to require municipalities to reduce water waste – known as unallocated water – which leaks from places such as broken water mains. This is fully potable drinking water that never makes it to the tap and ends up back in the ground. It's a costly loss. The EPA target is no more than 8% of the water supply gets wasted. So this project provides two benefits to the Village: it provides more accurate billing for water usage, and it helps us detect and repair unallocated water loss.
Can I just keep using my existing water meter?
There's no full opt out available. Every home and business will receive a new device. We're working to provide the best equipment possible to measure water flow. It's a relatively quick swap and ideally we won't need to be back for another 10-20 years. The current brass water meters lack the accuracy of the new meters, and the lifespan of a water meter is 12-15 years. We have thousands of meters approaching the end of their service life span or are well beyond it. It's simply time for the upgrade. With that said, residents with water meters less than 7 years old (due to recent replacement or new construction) will be able to keep the brass portion of the water meter, and our installers will simply replace the head. It's an easier swap requiring no plumbing.
What is the process for replacing every water meter in the Village?
A lengthy one, for sure. We estimate this program will take two years to complete beginning in late summer 2021. Trained and experienced installers on the Public Works staff have begun the process by installing smart meters in housing developments still under construction. Our installers will generally work neighborhood-by-neighborhood. This reduces commuting time between jobs and the installations can be more predictably prepared for (i.e. a newer housing area will have more standardized plumbing and shutoffs, while an older neighborhood might have irregular plumbing, tight crawl space access, etc.). Prior to reaching a neighborhood, the Village will send this letter indicating our pending arrival and requesting residents/business owners to make an installation appointment.

Prior to the appointment: we recommend our water customers watch the introductory video on the SmartMeter webpage, clear four feet of access area around the existing water meter, check if the shutoff valves to the left and right of the meter are functional. Our staff installers will not repair or replace corroded/non-functional water shutoff valves. This is the responsibility of the building owner and in its best interest. If a washing machine hose breaks, for example, it would be important to have the ability to immediately shut off water and prevent further flooding.
How much time will the installation require?
Depends on the circumstances. New homes are fairly predictable. The meter is newer, the location is known, and the shutoff valves are positioned evenly on both sides of the meter. It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes for a new home swap out. Older homes offer different challenges and each one is different. Meters can be located in crawlspaces – sometimes just 18 inches deep – or other non-traditional locations. We might encounter inadequate shutoff valves or other physical location challenges, and installs might require one hour or longer. For commercial applications, newer buildings with meter rooms make for quick replacements, and older buildings present the same challenges as older houses. 
Are the installers Village employees?
Yes! They are well-trained and experienced employees in our Public Works Department. They will wear Village of South Elgin Public Works attire and drive a Village truck. See photo below with our installation team (L to R): Mark, Jacob and Matt:

How do I check my water usage via computer?
Upon installation, you will receive information regarding the Temetra Customer Portal. With your account information, you'll be able to monitor usage and set alarms (for example, if you're out of town, the house is vacant and you'll receive an alert the if the water is still running). Below is an image from the water meter usage portal:

temetra portal image