Here are some commonly asked questions about the BWS Meter Transponder Unit Replacement Project.
Board of Water Supply (BWS) contractor Royal Contracting Company will be changing out roughly 80,000 aging meter transponder units in water meter boxes throughout Oahu. Work around the island began in January 2020 and is expected to finish by December 2020.
A meter transponder is 1 of 3 components of Automated Meter Reading (AMR) equipment in the water meter box:
As a BWS vehicle equipped with a transceiver drives along a meter-reading route, the transceiver sends a radio signal to meter transponders within range to notify them to transmit, via radio signal, meter reads back to the transceiver. The meter transponder gets the reading from the electronic register and sends it back via radio signal, to the transceiver where it is collected for bill processing.
The change-out will significantly increase the efficiency of the automated meter reading process (drive-by).
In 2017, the BWS started to replace aging transponders with newer ones in one of the 20 meter reading cycles, resulting in the AMR read rate rising from 80% to 92%. That cycle now has a consistent read rate of greater than 95%. Similar results have occurred in other cycles that were steadily changed out. This mass change-out project was initiated to speed up those efforts and the BWS anticipates that, after completion, AMR read rates will be at 95% or higher.
No. Customers will NOT be billed for this project. No customer shall ever be approached for any type of payment by any BWS employee or contractor for this project. This project is funded by BWS in its FY2020 Capital Improvement Project budget. There will be no additional costs passed on to ratepayers.
The project will cost about $5.01 million.
The change-out at the box should take about 15-20 minutes. As part of the QA/QC work, you also may notice the contractor conducting drive-bys to ensure that the transponder is connecting and transmitting. This drive-by test will occur within the following 24-hours after the change-out.
The contractor will only be scheduling appointments for those residences where the water meter is located on private property and access is required. Most water meters are located in the public right-of-way.
The contract is for transponder replacement, but through the inspections of the meter boxes, it has been noticed that another piece called the ECR may need changing as well. This is far less common. Royal will replace all transponders in an area first, then return later to change out those meter boxes with both transponders and ECRs. However, if they note any other condition issues in the meter box, they will let the customer and the BWS know that a follow-up visit may be needed to assess and conduct any additional work. Customers may call 748-5000, extension 1, to report and follow-up.
The contractor is working to replace transponder units as quickly and as safely as possible. There will be times, such as when there are meter readings taking place, where the contractor will pause their work and have to return to the area at a later date.
If you already contacted the BWS about a possible leak in the meter box, a BWS employee will come to investigate it. If you need to report a leak in the box, please call 748-5030, extension 1, and speak to a BWS dispatcher. The contractor will not be repairing leaks.
We are NOT replacing the meter, only a component in the meter box.
Yes, Royal Contracting Company is mailing postcards to residents about 3-4 weeks in advance of their work in an area.
Employees from Royal Contracting Company will be wearing bright yellow vests with their company logo. They will have identification badges indicating they are BWS contractors. They may be on foot or in vehicles that are marked with Royal Contracting Company’s logo and they will have a rolling cart with their equipment on it. Please refer to the pictures in this flyer to see the vests and badges.
The contractor will pre-arrange with you to gain access to the meter box.
Yes. Water service will NOT be disrupted during the work.
No. Work will occur seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., except along state highways where work is allowed only from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. However, work is limited to the meter box only.
The BWS regularly updates information about where the contractor is working via a webpage at hbws.me/mxu and its social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor.
Also, unless a customer is notified in advance, the contractor’s employees should not enter private property before, during, or after the change-out activity.
The contractor will deploy teams of employees, each of whom have specific meter boxes assigned to them, into an area. So one employee may work on a neighbor’s box while another works on the one servicing your home or one further down the street.
No – the readings have not been inaccurate. The reason we are doing this project is to increase the drive-by read rate. If we do not get a drive-by reading from a meter, then the Water Data Collection Clerk has to return and read the meter manually, which is not an efficient use of staff time. When completed, this project will increase the number of meter readings the staff can collect via automated meter reading (drive-bys) and reduce the number of manual reads needed to bill our customers.
If you have other questions or concerns, contact the BWS by:
< MXU PROJECT PAGE
Email BWS Customer Care
View Main Break Information Page
Email Dept of Environmental Services