Herald JournalHerald Journal, Feb. 23, 2004

Winsted hears about remotely read water meters

By Mick Bates

A presentation from Paul Thom, sales representative for National Waterworks, highlighted the .

Thom highlighted benefits to using the radio read water meter system, a curbside, handheld walkie-talkie device used to read water meters. Benefits presented include accuracy of meter reading, an end to delinquent meter readers, and greater speed in bookkeeping and billing.

Council Member Bonnie Quast asked if the public would be able to change the settings, to which Thom replied they could not.

Council Member Tom Wiemiller asked if a hacker could zap the system. Thom replied that there was a very remote possibility that this could be done.

Mayor Don Guggemos asked if a customer could have more than one meter connected to their radio, and Thom indicated that this was possible.

Thom said the radios cost $80 each, and meters cost $100 each. There would also be some software costs, in addition to the purchase price of the meter reader. Thom suggested that Winsted could save money by sharing a meter reader with other cities in the area.

Council Member Gerald Boldt wanted to know how the meters would be installed. Thom said a city worker could install the meters and a plumber was not needed.

Administrator Brent Mareck asked how other cities implemented the radio read meters, to which Thom replied that towns usually placed meters into new homes and into the homes of delinquent meter readers first. Then, gradually, the remaining meters in the city were replaced.

No action was taken by the council on the water meter issue.

Saturation patrol

Winsted Police Officer Glen Strom addressed the council, stating that Minnesota was experiencing the highest fatality rate from traffic accidents in 20 years.

The Minnesota State Patrol has requested to borrow a Winsted police officer for saturation patrols, which would require an officer to assist the State Patrol in manning a "speed trap" four or five times a year.

Guggemos noted that the state patrol would pay for the officer's assistance, and were very helpful to the City of Winsted during Winstock. The council granted the state patrol's request.

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