Guest Opinion: What is AMI and why do we need it in Pleasanton?

Automated metering is latest technology in evolution of water-metering infrastructure

Automated metering infrastructure (AMI) is the latest technology in the evolution of water-metering infrastructure. It will enable us to better manage our water, which we in Pleasanton and throughout the entire state have come to recognize as a precious resource.

As part of the city's Capital Improvement Program, the AMI project will give water customers better control by improving our monitoring system, increasing its accuracy and ensuring better water resource management overall.

A few years ago, the City Council established the AMI project as a priority, and staff has been pilot-testing the different technologies to determine the best fit for Pleasanton. We recognized that our aging water meters were in need of replacement as most meters become inefficient over time and no longer keep accurate track of water use.

The effect of this diminished accuracy in recording water use has created an unsustainable situation and is estimated to cost taxpayers and the city of Pleasanton upward of $750,000 annually in lost water and revenue.

The Aclara metering system has been selected to upgrade nearly 22,000 residential and commercial water meters throughout Pleasanton beginning this month. The system will take approximately one year to fully install. It will consist of new meters with transmission units and data collector units, which will aggregate the information, and customers will be able to access their own data from any smart device or computer through a new customer web portal.

One of the most exciting features of this project is the ability consumers will have to track individual usage. We will also be able to establish our own water budget or threshold amount (in gallons or dollars) and receive notifications if we are about to exceed that amount or whether abnormal usage occurs, which can be predictive of a leak. These improvements in monitoring our water consumption will give us the ability to better manage our water use and needs going forward.

Our previously demonstrated success at conserving water when it was needed most indicates a collective interest in doing what's right, even when it isn't easy. With the water management tools that come with AMI, individual conservation efforts can become even more effective.

As mentioned, this will be done in phases and will impact all water customers in Pleasanton. And just as pilot-testing was done in advance of deciding which system to purchase, a systems acceptance test is currently being conducted prior to full-scale implementation of the project, and I among others have volunteered to test this phase of the project. Once we get through with this final performance test, all residents and businesses will be notified in advance of installation beginning in their neighborhoods.

City staff will be holding a second AMI community outreach meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday to answer any questions. The meeting will be held at the Veterans Memorial Building, 301 Main St.

There are other ways to get informed. Sign on to the "Automated Metering Infrastructure" page on the city's website at, follow us on Twitter @pleasantonca and on Facebook at or call the operations services customer service line at 931-5500.

Editor's note: Jerry Thorne is completing his second two-year term as mayor of Pleasanton after serving seven years on the City Council. A retired corporate executive with more than 40 years in the private sector, he also served for 10 years on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission.

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10 people like this
Posted by Brad
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 5, 2016 at 5:53 pm

"The effect of this diminished accuracy in recording water use has created an unsustainable situation and is estimated to cost taxpayers and the city of Pleasanton upward of $750,000 annually in lost water and revenue."

In other words, you weren't able to CHARGE the taxpayers of Pleasanton $750K more than you already did. Nice try Mayor, but you failed. The state trying to convince its subjects that taking more of their money and freedom is in their best interest is an age-old tactic. I'm sure the Romans explained their onerous taxes in ancient times in much the same way. Not buying it and as I often say, if you and most of our city council are for it, good bet the residents of Pleasanton should be against it...whatever "it" is.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Amador Estates

on Aug 5, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

8 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Don't think for a moment that you will be the only one monitoring your water usage. Big brother will also.

5 people like this
Posted by Pluck the Thorne
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Brad's last sentence is spot-on.

Like this comment
Posted by Bryan Moran
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 5, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Surely you don't think you should get water for free? Of course not! That isn't how capitalism works. And you wouldn't want anyone else getting their water for free if you are paying for yours right? I don't see anything wrong with accurate meters, in fact they sound like a good idea. And yes, we could use 750k$ to improve and maintain our water system. It isn't the water system fairies that do the repairs, it's the money we pay. So if we all are charged according to what we use, I see that as the best scenario.

BTW we should invest in "purple pipe" and reuse the water. Not for drinking, but for landscaping. One hundred years from now people will wonder in amazement that we watered our yards with water so clean you could drink and bath in it, what an opulent waste! And that we used our water once and sent it on to the sewage plant to the river to the sea. The most expensive water is water you don’t have; reusing it twice (maybe more) makes perfect sense.

4 people like this
Posted by William
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Aug 6, 2016 at 3:49 am

If the city didn't already approve over a thousand additional housing units since the drought began, we would have enough water. As more units come to completion the shortage, and the water rates, will continue to climb. We need a city council which is more concerned with the well being of Pleasanton residents than the developers.

4 people like this
Posted by Al
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 6, 2016 at 9:13 am

Apartment complexes only have one meter. Individual apartments aren't metered. Water usage is invisible to apartment dwellers. Looks like we will soon have more apartments than homes in Ptown. So home owners and home renters will be monitored while apartment renters won't. So what happens to fair and equal treatment? The money could be better spent elsewhere. Or God forbid, give a rebate to property owners or lower water rates.

2 people like this
Posted by Concerned about Privacy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2016 at 11:39 pm

Do we really need to share our daily, hour-by-hour, water usage with the City? Who guarantees that this information will be secure, and won't be used to track our daily comings and goings? I guess it will be easy to track when we are not at home - but of course the information gathered and stored will be completely secure.... And will the information be used to try to change our behavior by charging higher rates when we use water the most - for example, during nighttime landscape watering? Unfortunately, with all the "hacking" going on these days, these are real concerns. Not just paranoia.

1 person likes this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 7, 2016 at 6:49 am

Well at least now with the new super meters they will know that I got up at 3am and used water to flush the toilet!

1 person likes this
Posted by Jay
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 7, 2016 at 10:21 am

No meters in apartments....think how many thousands of gallons of water is going to be used by the hundreds of residents in those apartments being built on Hacienda at Gibraltar. None of which will any of them pay for. It is YOUR wallet that will bear the burden of their water usage. We will all be paying more to make sure their water usage is paid for.
Doesn't that just make you even more ticked off about all this new building.

Like this comment
Posted by Wow!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2016 at 10:43 am

Jay, really? Do you not think at a minimum there is a water meter for total usage of an apartment building? Of course the owner of an apartment building is paying for water used by the building. Do you know for a fact that the apartments being built are not individually metered? Given the cost of water, don't you think owners would be considering individual meters?

I think people need to go out and enjoy the nice long sunny days and quit thinking everything is a conspiracy!

Like this comment
Posted by Jay
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm

@Wow, I did not say that no one was going to be getting their water for free in those apts. I said that the tenants would not be paying for their water based on meters. Of course the owner of the building will pay but the tenants will have no idea how much water they are using. They have no incentive to conserve because they won't see the affects of wasted water in the form of a water bill. Sure they will pay through their rent but there will be no fines for over usage like the rest of us were subject to.
Do you really think that there are going to be hundreds of water meters installed for those apts? Wouldn't that have been done already?
How is it that you know that everyone thinks everything is a conspiracy?

2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

There is the discrimination in housing act.

If apartment renters are charged a flat fee not involving water usage, there is no issue.

If renters are charged a fee involving water usage, there is an issue.
Renters have a right under the housing act to know how much of the fee is for water usage verses their neighbors fee for water usage.

With one meter, how is a differential in usage per apartment determined?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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