The installation of new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) - Smart Meters throughout North Battleford was a no-go in 2020 due to the pandemic, but it looks like the project will proceed in 2021.
The firm KTI Limited was contracted to do the installation of the water meters. City council was given an update Monday on what the plan is for 2021.
According to the report provided to council Monday by Jeff Blanchard, the temporary environmental manager for the city, KTI is set to complete radio frequency base station and antenna installations by the end of the month at the water tower.
A local project manager from KTI will arrive at the city starting Feb. 1 along with their team, and they will hire people from the local community to work as meter installers.
The installations will then start March 1 and it will be a large undertaking, said Blanchard, with replacement of all 5,400 water meters in the city. That will go through December.
Blanchard noted that by the time it is done the system will be able to reduce costs of reading water meters, provide real-time accurate water usage, alert customers of possible water usage concerns, and allow customers to identify leaks and other water problems in their plumbing. It would also create efficiencies for the Waterworks and Finance Department.
A full communications campaign to residents will be rolled out by the end of the month, including the website launch. For the installation the city will be blocked off into zones of 200-300 houses, and KTI will then hand-deliver mailer pamphlets and door hangers to those, which will include information on how to contact KTI to book an installation.
Residents will then have four weeks to book an appointment but if there is no response, the city will send a letter by registered mail that water will be shut off. The reason, said Blanchard, is they do not want the project delayed unconditionally due to residents refusing to book.
Blanchard acknowledged COVID-19 remains an ongoing risk to the project getting completed on time, and he said individuals who are at high risk for the virus will be accommodated.