NEW ORLEANS, LA — The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans is nearly ready to install smart meters— a modern solution to meet customers’ needs. SWBNO’s Smart Metering Program will empower customers and address some of the utility’s biggest challenges, including its billing practices.
SWBNO continues to install the necessary base stations and infrastructure to begin upgrading meters across the city. Base stations are a key part of the wireless infrastructure that help make smart meters “smart.” They collect customers’ water use readings and connect them to our billing system through a secure network for more reliable, on-time bills.
"As we reach this milestone in our highly anticipated Smart Metering Program, we are proud to show tangible progress to our customers,” said Ghassan Korban, SWBNO Executive Director. “We've spent the last few years planning and building the foundation for this system. Now, we hope our customers recognize we hear their concerns and are committed to modernizing our systems to meet their needs.”
“Investments in the utility’s systems have been a top priority of my administration, and soon, New Orleans will reap the benefits of our ongoing smart meter installations," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “This modern technology will create more financial stability and play an integral role in the generational investments being made to improve our aging utility. This is just one example of how we are continuing to strengthen our resiliency, protect our people, and resolve their billing issues for good.”
As part of its Smart Metering Program, SWBNO is replacing its approximately 140,000 meters throughout the city with new smart meters—a reliable, industry-proven digital technology. The meters collect frequent water use readings and send the information to SWBNO's billing system through base stations, which allow the utility to read all meters automatically and remotely through a secure wireless network. As a result, SWBNO can accurately bill customers for the water they use, ending most surprise high bills, errors, and routine estimations caused by manual reads.
SWBNO and its staff are implementing this program with intention and care. To support its employees through this transition, SWBNO is committed to helping them understand this new technology. The utility will also provide the necessary training for those who will take on new roles with this program, preparing them to support SWBNO customers.
The smart metering infrastructure incorporates multiple pathways for the meters to submit customer water use data. Data from over 95 percent of meters will be collected by at least three base stations, giving the utility access to backup information. Both the meters and the base stations also have data storage capabilities to protect against the loss of information and the inability to generate customer bills.
With this infrastructure in place, SWBNO can begin installing smart meters in mid-September 2023, starting with 1.5-inch and 2-inch diameter smart meters. These meters serve residential customers, multi-family customers, and commercial customers. SWBNO anticipates the installation of all other meter sizes will start in late 2023. The replacement of all 140,000 meters will take approximately three years.
Before SWBNO installs a meter, the utility will provide:
- A postcard notification to the account holder four to five weeks prior to installation,
- A postcard notification to the service address about two weeks before the installation, and
- A door hanger at the service address on the day of the installation with important details about their new smart meter.
SWBNO will also be in neighborhoods throughout the city to engage with customers and share information about what they can expect. To learn more and stay updated on the Smart Metering Program, visit swbno.org/Projects/SmartMetering.