Florence’s new automated meter reading system to provide more accurate billing, save city money

Florence automated meter reading

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence city council members gave initial approval on a plan to fund the city’s new automated water meter reading system.

City leaders said an automated system will make the process easier and water billing more accurate.

Florence City Manager Drew Griffin said crews have already begun installing the automated readers. They’ll replace 32,000 meters that are manually read over the next three to four years.

The total cost of the new system and its equipment is around $10 million.

During the city council meeting Monday, members approved the first reading to refinance the city’s current water and sewer system debt at a lower interest rate. In return, the plan will save the city millions of dollars to go toward the new system.

“Our savings from our lower interest is about $13 million so we are seeing a fairly significant debt savings to the city over a course of time,” Griffin said.

Griffin said they’ll also save $11 million in operational costs over nine years.

Over the past year, people who live in West Florence said they’ve dealt with high water bills they claimed doesn’t match their water usage.

Griffin said along with more precise reading, the new system eliminates manually reading and provides real time usage information.

“So if they have a leak, if they have unusual water usage, we can go to the date and time and say here’s significant use that you’ve used,” Griffin said. “It is a relatively expensive process, but you know information resolves questions so I think that works for both sides.”

City leaders will take a second vote on financing the new automated system at next month’s city council meeting.

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