Current Projects

AMI Meter Replacement

April 4, 2024

AMI Water Meter Replacement Project

​​The Utilities Board of Rainbow City (UBRC) began replacing all residential and commercial water meters on February 6, 2024.  The new meters will allow UBRC to install Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) that will provide better customer service, reduce operational costs and reduce water loss in the system. These new meters will automatically transmit readings wirelessly, meaning UBRC can be more efficient and reduce water system costs. UBRC’s current AMR drive-by meter system, which was installed in 2008, has reached its end-of-life, with over half of the meter transmitter batteries failing at this time. Our maintenance staff is currently reading over half the water system manually. This new AMI meter system will prevent manual reading errors, speed the meter reading and billing process, and eliminate time-consuming manual re-reads altogether.

UBRC has awarded the meter replacement contract to Baird Contracting Company.

About the Meter and AMI System

The UBRC selected Sensus meters due to their experience and excellent performance record and benefits their system provides to the UBRC.  Each Sensus meter is covered by a factory-backed 20-year warranty. The Sensus water meters accurately measure and record water usage data and then wirelessly transmit the data to the UBRC billing system. Utilizing this new system, meter readings will be collected daily, as opposed to the current monthly data collection frequency. By collecting meter reading information more frequently both UBRC and its customers will be alerted to abrupt or abnormal changes in water usage much earlier than previously possible. 

Water Meter Installers

The contractor will attempt to notify the customer prior to replacing the new water meter by knocking on the door. Contractors will also drive vehicles that have the Baird Contracting corporate logo on the doors. Customers are encouraged to call UBRC at 256.442.2553 if they have questions about installers.

 Installation Timeframe:

The Meter Replacement Project will take approximately 9 to 12 months to complete.


The Utilities Board of Rainbow City has selected Baird Contracting, to:

  • Implement an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project
  • Replace over 4,000 water meters with new water meters
  • Improve the efficiency of meter reading
  • Install advanced leak detection system on water meters

The improved meter reading operations utilizing AMI technologies can help conserve water, improve customer service and reliability, maximize capital budgets, protect property and reduce operating cost. 

How It Will Work

Meter Replacement Procedure

In most cases, meter change out is a simple procedure that requires less than 15 minutes.

  • The contractor will be operating between the hours of 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday
  • It will take approximately 10 - 15 minutes to replace each meter and water services will be briefly interrupted during installation
  • Please clear the area around the meter when contractors are scheduled to arrive
  • Residents are not required to be present during the meter replacement
  • If your meter is not accessible or if you have special needs, please contact UBRC at 256-442-2553

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AMI?

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) allows water utilities to gather utility usage data from their customers, both residential and commercial, without manually reading meters.  The utility improves services and saves money by minimizing the costs associated with reading individual residential and commercial meters while allowing time to do other required maintenance activities. In addition, Advanced Metering Infrastructure improves data accuracy and helps identify irregularities.

Why is UBRC undertaking this effort?

Automated meter systems are quickly becoming the standard for utilities around the country.  The new devices allow for more accurate and faster collection of water usage readings than the current manual method or drive-by method and improve safety conditions for UBRC staff.  Currently, utility employees must open every meter box to obtain a reading from the meter or drive through the system to get the radio reads.  Introducing AMI as the standard for UBRC is one of the ways we can better serve our customers and improve the overall efficiency.

How many meters will be changed?

UBRC is replacing over 4,000 meters.

Will the electronic device on the meter interfere with other electronic equipment?

No.  The radio transmission operates in compliance with FCC regulations to avoid interference with other electronic devices.

Do I have to be home for the meter replacement work?

No.  Since the water meters are located outside of the home you will not need to be home for the replacement work. No employee or contractor should ever enter your home.

What happens if I have a problem after the installation?

If you have a leak, low pressure, or some other problem after the installation you should contact UBRC at 256-442-2553 to report your concern.  Because your water will be turned off temporarily during the meter change process, you may experience a brief period of air or discolored water.  In most cases, briefly running your cold water will clear this situation.

​Why is the water meter being replaced?

To upgrade the meter to one capable of communicating with the AMI equipment and as an extension of an existing program to replace aging meters after they have reached the end of their life cycle. With the introduction of newer technology, the existing meters are not able to communicate using AMI technology. The newer meters will save labor time, prevent recording errors, minimize wear and tear on vehicles, and minimize the need for UBRC employees to access the meter pit.

​Does the meter have to be replaced?

Yes.  All meters will be changed to be read by the automated metering infrastructure technology.

Has the new AMI equipment been tested for accuracy and reliability?

Yes. Meters come pretested along with results directly from the manufacturer.  The radio device will be tested for accuracy during the meter collection process regularly.

How does AMI benefit customers?

By improved customer service by increasing the accuracy of meter readings.  An increased number of readings throughout the month will also allow for the early notification of leaks which will save customers money. Reading remotely will also minimize the need to access meters at the property.

Will my water bill go up?

Although you were not charged for the new meter and your water rate did not change at the time of the upgrade, you may see an increase because the new meters record consumption more accurately than the old meters. As water meters age, they tend to run slower and may not measure all of the water going through them. Most of the old meters in the system are more than 15 years old and at the end of their useful life. Therefore, depending on the age and accuracy of your current meter, you may see an increase in your bill based on more accurate readings.

Can I cover up the meter after the installation?

No.  Access needs to be available at all times.  There will still be occurrences when meter technicians will visit the meter on-site to perform routine maintenance or verify high readings.  Obstructions to the meter box are subject to removal by UBRC personnel.

What if something is blocking or in front of the meter?

Please keep access to the water meter available at all times to ensure it is accessible for any potential emergency that would require the meter to be turned off.

How will I know that you have my reading & not someone else's?

Each radio frequency device has a unique identification number which is transmitted along with the meter reading.  The unique number is compared to your account record to ensure a match.

Does this mean no more meter readers?

No. UBRC currently uses our Maintenance staff to read meters.  The Maintenance staff will now be able to focus on routine services, maintenance, repairs, and new service installations throughout the water system. They will also continue to respond to water emergencies.

Contact Information

Please call The Utilities Board of Rainbow City at 256-442-2553 with any questions or feedback.