New water, electric meter infrastructure approved

Approximate $4.3 million project to include entire city

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission approved a number of resolutions in regard to replacing water and electric meters in the entire city during their meeting Tuesday evening.

The project will begin with the meters in the Southview neighborhood. Last year, the city was awarded a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Critical Infrastructure Grant to replace the water meters in that neighborhood. Due to this opportunity, the city decided to expand this project to include updating both water and electric meters for the entire city, with the Southview neighborhood as their pilot area.

With the new meters, there will be no need for a meter reader to enter a home or business. The existing water and electric meters in the homes and businesses in Southview will be replaced with new electric ones that use Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI) technology that will allow the meter reader to read the meters remotely and send the information to the city’s billing office.

“It’s a very stable platform,” Assistant Power Systems Director Nick Berger said about the AMI technology. Berger explained the other benefits of the AMI system, including mitigating risks that meter readers currently face with entering residents’ homes as well as leak detection services, increased reliability, and other future customer service enhancements.

The total estimated cost for this project is approximately $4.3 million.

The first emergency resolution that the commission approved was to award a contract to Aclara Technologies, LLC to install the advanced meter infrastructure at a cost not to exceed $4,030,436, which includes a contingency of $775,000. Payment will be spread out between 2016 to 2018, which includes a contingency.

The source of funds includes:

• Electric funds: $1,756,222

• Water funds: $947,295

• Wastewater funds: $551,919

• Grant funds: $387,352

The first phase of the project, expected to be completed by August 2017, includes replacing the water and electric meters in Southview. The second phase will take approximately 12-18 months to replace the rest of the water and electric meters in the city, which is expected to be complete sometime in 2018.

Commissioner Joe Wilson asked if the city’s current water and electric meters would still need to be replaced even if the city was not participating in this project. Berger said yes. Wilson also asked about the leak detection option, and Berger explained that the city would be able to detect a leak as quickly as the day after the leak starts versus the resident finding out when they receive a bill that is double its usual amount.

“It’s a great benefit from that standpoint,” City Manager Gary Huff said.

The commission then authorized a purchase order to Mueller Systems, LLC for approximately 2,247 water meters for the Southview neighborhood. Those composite water meters will work with the automated meter reading system from Aclara in residential homes. The cost is not to exceed $647,000.

Following that, the commission approved purchasing approximately 242 water meters from Evertt J. Prescott, Inc. for commercial businesses in Southview. The cost is not to exceed $439,000. Those meters will be ductile iron, epoxy-coated, and lead-free, and also will work with the new automated meter reading system from Aclara.

By a vote of 4 to 1, the commission then approved acquiring the services of Power System Engineering, Inc. to assist in the implementation and transition to the new Aclara system. They will provide the city with deployment support and project management-type services as the AMI system is being implemented. The contract is not to exceed $65,000.

Commissioner John Martin voted against this resolution, questioning why these project management services were not bid out.

Berger explained that Power System Engineering, Inc. has been with the city since the procurement of the project and has intimate knowledge of the city’s system. Berger added that the city has worked with Power System Engineering, Inc. before and that the city has been satisfied with their service.

“But without bidding it, there’s no competition,” Martin said.

Huff said that a consultant would have spent time getting up to speed on the project and that they viewed this as a cost-savings opportunity. Huff also reiterated what Berger said, saying that Power System Engineering, Inc. has been with the city as the project has progressed to this point.

“But that doesn’t make it right,” Martin said.

Wilson asked if the cost appeared to be what they had estimated.

“Does this seem like a reasonable amount, or high or low?” Wilson asked.

Berger explained that Power System Engineering, Inc. had provided them with hourly rates that did not stand out from what the city had expected.

The commission also awarded a contract to EMH&T for the development of the city’s underground utilities’ geographic information system (GIS) pilot project. According to Superintendent Shane Johnson of the Underground Utilities Department, they are “seeking to develop a comprehensive mapping system” as part of a cohesive GIS database. The city currently has an established stormwater mapping system, but the city needs to include layers for water, wastewater, and distribution. The cost is not to exceed $96,700.

Commissioner Bill Vogt asked about the city’s electric GIS system, which the city completed itself. “Why couldn’t we do this in-house?” he asked.

“We don’t have the manpower,” Johnson said, explaining the large number of data points and information that EMH&T will be compiling.

The commission also authorized the transfer and conveyance of Miami and Erie Canal lands to the city of Piqua. The state will transfer ownership of canal lands to the city, replacing the previous Master Canal Lease granted to the city in 1926.

Lastly, the commission approved purchase orders to Chemical Services, Inc.; Greer Lime Company; Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; Kemira Water Solutions, Inc.; Sterling Water Technologies, LLC; Univar USA Inc.; and the city of Dayton for the 2017 purchase of various water treatment chemicals. The total cost is $369,713 and is budgeted for 2017.

Approximate $4.3 million project to include entire city

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336