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The City of Carlsbad is progressing much quicker than expected in moving to replace its traditional water meters with electronic devices that can be read electronically by a laptop computer mounted in a city truck driving by.

“We’ll have replaced 18,000 out of 28,887 meters by the end of June,” says Mario Remillard, who is overseeing the installation. “Everything south of Cannon Road will be on our new drive-by system, and we’ll begin replacing meters north of Cannon in July.”

The project, originally expected to take fifteen years, is now slated to be completed in two. The city says it expects to save up to $8 million as compared to the old system, which required meter reader to stop and manually check each property using a handheld device.

On average it takes 15 minutes to cover an area that used to take three hours,” according to Remillard. The devices can be read by any utility truck passing within a half mile.

In addition to speeding the process of meter reading and billing for the city, consumers will now also be able to access a greatly expanded amount of data about their water usage, as the meters take readings several times daily. The new system can also detect a spike in usage, helping to identify possible leaks.

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