How big are smart meters these days? Big enough to have their own Wikipedia description:

A smart meter is an electronic device that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing.

These programs are becoming more popular, particularly in California where water is a particularly precious resource, and its usage must be closely monitored. Just three months ago, the Montecito Water District’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to support moving forward with the implementation of a Smart Metering Program, at an estimated cost of $3 million.

The main benefits of a Smart Metering Program are access to near real-time water use data, along with alerts for leaks and high flow scenarios. The goal is to prevent unintended water use, and benefit customers who seek protection from the costs that can accompany undetected leaks, dripping faucets, or a forgotten hose.

 

The Role of The Water District Website

The transition to a smart meter system won’t happen overnight. Montecito expects to replace more than 4,500 meters over a period of six months.

What about the public response? Here’s where the website can help.

From the moment the transition was considered, the website should have been among the first sources of information. Once the vote is complete to initiate a smart meter system, the next steps are usually a notice sent to customers, either separately or with their water bill, letting them know what is happening. The last line of that notice should read “For more information, please visit…” followed by a URL for a page on the water district website.

Some people hear “meter” and wonder if their water usage will now be restricted. Or they’ll be concerned about the impact this will have on their water bill. Will there be a charge for the new meter? Will they be able to read it? How does one household’s water usage compare to another’s?

So many questions. And the place they should be answered is on your website. A FAQ page should be the place customers go for answers, especially as it is likely faster and easier than a call or an email.

 

It’s Easy to Do With Drupal

What prevents some municipal utilities from making such information available through the website? Often the culprit is a content management system that does not make it simple to add or update content.

That is why, for our clients, we usually opt for Drupal, a CMS that will instantly seem familiar immediately to anyone who has ever used a computer. With Drupal adding pages, changing pages, incorporating photos and videos can all be done in minutes, with no IT experience required.

If you don’t have a content management system, or you’re not happy with your current one, why wait until your next major website revision project to make a change? Contact 360Civic about the benefits of Drupal, and how we’ve customized the platform to make a great product even better.

Learn more about our web development services for public sector entities

David Hofstede

Director of Content

From website content to press releases, blogs to whitepapers, If something has to be written, David writes it or approves it before it goes to our clients. He understands that good writing has a pu... Read more

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