Mayor Michael J. McGlynn announced that the City of Medford will establish a customer portal of monitoring and managing water usage. In August, Ron Baker, Water Meter Operations Supervisor, was asked to investigate vendors who could provide a customer portal for Medford’s Water and Sewer customers that would allow for online access to individual water consumption data, enabling customers to monitor usage and detect water leaks early.
Mr. Baker researched three vendors. He evaluated the portals for ease of use, relevance and completeness of data provided, and cost. The Water Smart portal best met the needs of the City. The WaterSmart portal includes a real time tab that alerts customer of possible water leaks. It allows customers to track their usage and provides for ways that customers can save on their water usage based on individual customer input, such as number of bathrooms, number of people in a household, size of lawn, etc. WaterSmart provides an option for customers to be notified of leaks through an Automated Phone Leak Alert Service. In addition, WaterSmart provides analytical data for the City that would provide the City with additional information on how water is being used, the list of customers alerted to possible leaks, and customer responses to the notification. WaterSmart also provides a mechanism for the City to contact customers to provide information about the water supply. This could include hydrant flushing schedule that would notify customers of the time and any disturbance in color of the water, or water shut off periods during construction.
One competitor is very similar to the WaterSmart system, but with a somewhat less user-friendly screen. The third system is still in development. Therefore the City prefers not to go with it at this time. The pricing of the vendor portals was compared. WaterSmart had the lowest cost, with a set-up fee of $12,628 and an annual price per account of $1.01, compared with a competitor set up fee of $13,500 and an annual price per account of $1.28.