Smart Meter/AMI Overview

Overview of AMI/Smart Meters

In December 2019, City Council approved $5 million for Waterworks to start the initial phase of the smart metering project to replace our existing meters and install advanced meters. Installation in the initial deployment area (IDA) begins in July 2020 for approximately 1,234 customers (about 1% of all Waterworks accounts), and will be followed by several months of testing. Waterworks selected the routes for the IDA based on distance from Waterworks main office, high volume of move-in/move-outs, and meters frequently underwater. Rollouts to the rest of the Waterworks service area will be based on lessons learned from the IDA and will take into consideration any financial impacts due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Smart meters will increase Waterworks’ operational efficiency with remote meter reading and connect/disconnect, which will save labor, fuel, and vehicle costs. Moreover, smart meters will enhance customer service through access to more timely and detailed consumption data with quicker response times for move-in and move-outs, and the ability to identify high usage and leaks sooner. Lastly, smart metering will reduce our carbon footprint due to fewer trucks sent out to read meters and turn service on or off.

Updated: December 2019

Advanced Metering Infrastructure ($5,000,000) – Newport News Waterworks will begin transitioning from the current manual water meter reading process, which is very labor intensive, to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system in 2020. AMI will be electronically read and allow for greater capabilities, including options such as remote water connection turn on/turn off, leak detections and consumption statistics. These funds, part of the FY2020 Capital Improvements Plan, will allow Waterworks to replace 1,000 of the 119,500 residential meters with AMI meters to test how well the new meters function. There will be no direct charge to customers for this upgrade and customers will not notice any changes to their water service once the installation is complete. On-demand viewing of last night’s entire City Council meeting is available at

Updated: December 2017​

Waterworks is currently working on the scope of work with Excergy for Phase 2, AMI System Design and Bidding Services. Internal discussions are centered on how best to bid, package, and deliver the project. ​​Options will include full third-party integrator responsibility, Newport News Waterworks handling the integration, or a hybrid solution.

The AMI system the utility selects is to have a minimum shelf life of 20 years. It is anticipated that the implementation of the AMI system will be 3 years following vendor selection and will include a pilot/confirmation effort prior to a full roll-out.​​ We estimate that Phase 2 will be completed by the end of 2018 and a vendor selection process to begin in early 2019.​ ​

​​Updated: September 2016​​​​​

Phase 1 has been completed with delivery of the final report in August. Total capital and 20-year operating costs for implementation of the preferred AMI alternative across the entire regional service area is estimated at $56 million. Workshops will be conducted in September and October to further evaluate the final estimated implementation costs and the associated financial and operational benefits to both NNWW customers and the utility. ​​

​Updated: June 2016

In February 2016, the Waterworks Department launched a three-phase Automated Meter Reading (AMR)/Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. AMR and AMI are both forms of automated, remote meter reading. ​​AMR refers to drive-by systems. The meter collects and stores data until it is collected by a meter reader driving past in a vehicle. AMR systems are limited to one-way communication.​​

AMI enables two-way communication through a fixed network to transmit information between the utility office and meters or other endpoints, and provides greater benefits to the utility and its customers. AMI has the potential to enhance Waterworks’ operational effectiveness by increasing meter reading efficiency; improving meter accuracy; reducing costs associated with vehicle operations; reducing water losses; improving system pressure management and pumping efficiency; and enhancing system modeling and demand analyses.​​

Phase I of this project is a study, conducted by the consulting firm Excergy Corporation, to determine the feasibility of implementing an AMR and/or AMI system in the Waterworks service area. The Feasibility Study is a detailed analysis of the costs and the benefits of AMR/AMI systems. Multiple scenarios are being considered, including a full AMR system (drive-by meter reading), a hybrid AMR/AMI system, a full AMI system, and a full AMI system with remote connect/disconnect capabilities.