Minneapolis Water Meter Replacement Project
Beginning in 2018, the City of Minneapolis is replacing 100,000 residential and commercial water meters as part of a project to upgrade the current water meter reading system. The project is expected to take five years to complete. The City has partnered with the manufacturer Aclara to assist with the meter-upgrade project. Both City and Aclara meter technicians will perform the work. Customers will not be charged for the upgraded equipment.
Why is the City replacing the meters and the meter reading system?
- The new equipment can provide customers with more water usage data and allow the City to offer high consumption alerts via text or email and configured on the City's website.
- The new meter reading device will send readings to the billing system electronically allowing meters to be read hourly.
- Customers will have access to new online features, including:
- Graphical water consumption.
- Tool to compare water consumption to consumption from last week, last month, and last year.
- Wise water usage hints.
- Videos to help customers identify leaks and resolve basic plumbing issues.
How will it affect City customers?
- Customers will be required to schedule an appointment to replace their meter. A flexible appointment schedule will be available to meet customer needs.
- Water service will be interrupted during the installation.
- An adult age 18 or older will need to be on site during the installation, which should take less than an hour.
- Customers' billing dates may change after the new meter and reading equipment are installed.
- Usage information on your bill will not change and additional usage data will be available on the City's website.
- Water usage will be measured more precisely, which may result in changes to monthly bills depending on the precision of the current meters.
How can customers prepare for installation day?
- Clear a path to the meter and the area around so it is accessible to the meter installer.
- Make sure someone over 18 will be on-site for the appointment.
- Verify the installer is working for the City by asking to see the City logo on their badge. The logo should look like this:
- If someone claiming to be an installer comes to the door but does not have an appointment or cannot provide proper identification, call 911.
Water Meter Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be charged for the upgraded equipment?
No. customers will not be charged for the upgraded equipment.
Will I see an increase in my water bills?
Water usage will be measured more precisely which may result in changes to monthly bills depending on the precision of the current meters.
Am I required to allow the meter and the reading equipment to be replaced?
Yes. City ordinance requires that water usage be metered and current meters are beyond their service life. If a customer does not participate in the equipment replacement process, City ordinance allows for water service to be turned off.
What will happen with the old meters and reading devices?
The old meters and reading devices will be recycled.
Were is my water meter, and how do I read it?
Your meter is located in the basement of your property. It is not outside, as it would freeze in Minnesota. The water meter is connected to the service line, which usually comes in from the street side of the house.
What is a unit of water?
Water usage is measured by consumption units. One consumption unit is 100 cubic feet or about 748 gallons. A container approximately the size of a Minneapolis park wading pool holds one consumption unit.
What types of meters does the City use?
The City deploys two types of meters -- odometer style and high resolution.
- Odometer style: The older meters are being replaced by new high resolution meters. The register of the meter is about 3 inches in diameter and has a large sweep hand and a small red diamond or triangle. One revolution of the sweep hand equals one cubic foot, or 7.48 gallons. The small diamond or triangle is the leak detector and will move with very little water passing through the meter. The reading is displayed to one cubic foot. Read the six numbers on the meter display, where it says cubic feet, from left to right. The City bills in 100s of cubic feet, so the last two numbers on the right are not included. This register would have a billing meter read of 26.(Below: An odometer style meter.)
- High Resolution Meter: Although usage is still billed in 100s of cubic feet, the new high resolution meters display the meter reading to a 1,000th of a cubic foot. The billing meter read for this meter (below) would be 2, as that is the value at the 100 cubic foot position. The display on this meter is activated by a very bright light. An LED flashlight or cell phone flashlight will work. When water is passing through the meter, a directional arrow will be displayed. The display will occasionally toggle from the reading to the current flow rate.
How does the City read the meter?
Water meters in Minneapolis have a remote reading device attached to the meter that allows the City to obtain a reading electronically. Automatic meters report usage once a month. The new high resolution meters will report hourly meter readings and will be accessible through ACE, the customer portal that is part of the new AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) system.
Why is my consumption so high?
Consumption may be high for many reasons:
- Leaky toilet
- Watering the lawn and garden or an outside hose left on
- Large catch-up bill based on an actual meter reading if bill has been estimated too low for a length of time
- Increase in number of people living in the household
How can the water meter tell me if I have a leak?
Older odometer style water meters have a leak indicator on the face of the dial. It is a triangular or diamond-shaped indicator that revolves 354 times for every gallon of water that passes through the meter.
To check for leaks, look at the indicator when no one is using water. It should not be moving. If it is moving, check every plumping fixture at the property (i.e. toilet, sink, outside sprinkler, washer, etc.) Shut off the valves that supply each fixture, one by one, and check the indicator after each shutoff. When closing a valve stops the indicator from moving, or slows its movement, you have found the location of the leak. There may be more than one leak.
Once the leak is repaired, check the leak indicator again and make sure all leaks are repaired.
With the new high resolution meters, finding leaks is easier. The right-most digit reads to 1,000th of a cubic foot, or 0.957 ounces. Your hourly consumption will be available on the ACE customer portal down to the 100th of a cubic foot, or about a glass of water.
Can I test the accuracy of my water meter?
Customers often think the meter is not working right causing high readings. To test the accuracy of your meter, use the following procedure:
- Run water until the test dial (the red sweep hand located on the face of the meter) points to zero. The test hand will be straight up in the 12 o'clock position when it is on zero. Fill a one-gallon container with water. Check the position of the red test dial. It should measure 0.1333 cubic feet.
- As an alternate test, fill a five gallon bucket one and a half times. The red sweep hand should make one complete revolution.
Can I have my meter tested for accuracy?
Customers may request a meter test. There is a fee for this service and the fee must be paid after the meter is tested. To set up an appointment, contact Customer Service at:
250 S. 4th St., Room 200
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Last updated Aug 3, 2018