Buckeye prepares for new water billing system

Buckeye water customers are in for some changes.

Since November, the city of Buckeye has been replacing the electronic radio transmitters inside about 20,000 meter boxes around the community. Crews from Water Resources have worked six days each week exchanging between 35 and 40 ERTs each day.

The units relay data from the water meters to a central server to calculate monthly bills.

As we touched every water meter in the city, we also verified the meter number, APN and GPS coordinates,” said Annie DeChance, communications manager. “This information is essential in moving forward to ensure accuracy.”

The replacing of the units comes after a months-long issue between some residents and the city over high water bills. However, the new equipment is not a direct result of the problem, DeChance said, explaining it is part of the city’s Water Master Plan. The average lifespan of an ERT is about 10 years, she said.

This new technology will provide our customers with additional account information they did not have access to unless we pulled and tested their meter,” DeChance said. “It will be an educational tool for the city and our customers to learn about watering habits, outdoor usage and appropriate techniques to apply based on each individual property.”

While the new equipment is not a direct result of the water billing issue, city officials expect the equipment to provide the most accurate reading possible, DeChance said.

Nothing is 100 percent,” DeChance said.

The equipment will be a major component of the city’s new billing system, which will launch later this year. The new system will offer easy to read bills, improved payment options, a versatile customer portal service and detailed access to customer account information, according to a release.

First, the city will transfer former Global Water customers who received their bills from a third party, Fathom, to Buckeye’s current system in June. Then all 20,000 customers will transition to the new system, Tyler, later in 2017. The city expects a seamless transition for all customers, DeChance said.

Officials have focused on reaching out to customers to make them aware of the change and provide instructions on actions they may need to take regarding payments.

The city provides a weekly update on all calls made to its water hotline at http://www.buckeyeaz.gov/updated-information-water-hotline-cases/.

A detailed report explaining many of the reports of high water usage can be found at http://www.buckeyeaz.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Hotline-Inquiries-Summary-2017-05-03.pdf.


Chris Caraveo can be reached at ccaraveo@westvalleyview.com.

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