- Community Services
- Utility Billing
- Smart Water Meters
Smart Water Meters
Enjoy a smarter way to track your water use! Allen's citywide transition to smart water meters is now underway, with customers enjoying new perks such as hourly water use data, automatic leak alerts and more.
- There are no alerts at this time.
Smart meter benefits
Smart water meters provide additional insight and control over customers' monthly water bills. They have also been identified as one of the State of Texas Best Management Practices for residential water conservation. Here are just a few of the perks:
VIDEO: Are you WaterSmart?
See water usage in near real-time, receive leak alerts, set water use thresholds, and more! Sign up as soon as you get your smart water meter to begin saving time, money and water.
Track your own use
Smart meters help you understand how much water you use and when you use it.
This helps eliminate surprises and even allows customers to estimate monthly bills.
Once meters are installed citywide, frequent meter readings will allow for reliable monthly billing increments set for an average of every 30 days – a feature Allen residents specifically requested.
Stop wasting water
Use detailed, hourly data to identify unexpected water use, such as incorrectly programmed sprinkler systems or a running toilet.
Get leak alerts when you use a very large amount of water at once, or small amounts of water over a continuous period.
Use video tutorials to help fix common leaks and avoid unnecessary calls to a plumber.
Save now and later
Track data over time to understand how simple changes to your water use habits can have a big impact on your monthly bill.
Benefit from more efficient processes leading to reduced City service costs over time.
Help delay the need for costly water infrastructure projects by contributing to reduced citywide water use.
Approximately 100 meters will be added daily beginning in October 2022 and ending in December 2023. Customers will receive a notification letter up to 6 weeks before a new meter is installed. An additional notice will be hung on your front door within 2 weeks of installation. In rare cases, individual properties may receive a new meter ahead of the planned installation schedule due to ongoing maintenance needs.
Use this map to check the progress and see where our smart water meter installation team is headed next! (Trouble viewing? Click here to open the map in a new window.)
What to expect on installation day
The City of Allen is partnering with a company called Pedal Valves to replace meters at every Allen home and business. On installation day, a uniformed Pedal Valves representative will arrive in a marked vehicle with the Pedal Valves logo. Pedal Valves is the only company authorized by the City of Allen to work on your meter.
Your water meter is located outside near the curb, so you do not need to be present during installation. However, a Pedal Valves representative will come to the door to notify you before work begins. Your water will be turned off for 15-20 minutes as the meter is installed. Once installation is complete, crews will leave a door hanger to let you know whether meter was successfully installed, or if installation was unable to occur and must be rescheduled.
VIDEO: Smart Meter Installation
To prepare for installation, please prune back any landscaping that has grown over your meter box. Contractors will never ask to enter your home or backyard to complete required work.
To ensure installation plans do not interfere with business operations, Pedal Valves will contact commercial customers separately to coordinate installation plans and procedures.
Start tracking your water use
Smart water meters will sync to a new City of Allen customer dashboard, allowing every customer to access hourly water use data, review history of past water use, enroll in optional text/email leak alerts, estimate upcoming bills and more!
You can create an account anytime. If you don't have a smart meter yet, you can still use the customer portal to view monthly data on your past water use. Once your new meter is installed, hourly water readings and other customer insights will appear on your account within 48 hours.
- Why is the City of Allen installing smart water meters?
Smart meters offer customers several benefits, such as added insight and control over their water consumption and increased confidence in the accuracy of water bills. By helping customers identify how much water they use and when they use it, smart meters eliminate surprises and even allow customers to get an estimate of their next monthly bill. Detailed, hourly data can also help identify unexpected water use caused by leaks or incorrectly-programmed sprinklers. In addition, smart meters allow for more efficient processes leading to reduced City service costs over time.
- How do smart meters work?
Smart water meters digitally measure and record the amount of water that passes from City of Allen water supply lines to individual customer water lines. Smart meters send a brief, encrypted, digital reading to a data collection unit three times each day. The data collection unit then sends an encrypted digital message to the City's secure data servers using the existing cellular network. Digital meter readings are then processed within the City's billing system and published on a secure customer dashboard so that customers can view an hourly log of water use, along with historic water use data.
- When will my home/business get a smart meter?
Installing smart water meters at every Allen home and business is estimated to take 15 months, beginning in October 2022. During this time, crews will install approximately 100 meters per day. Installers don't maintain a calendar of exact installation dates by address. However, customers will receive a notification letter up to 6 weeks before installation, followed by a door hanger reminder within 2 weeks of installation. Commercial customers will be contacted separately to ensure installation does not interfere with business operations.
- How long does it take to install a smart meter?
Installation typically takes 15-30 minutes. Crews will come to your door to notify you before work begins.
- Will water service be interrupted during installation?
Crews will temporarily turn off your water before removing the old meter and replacing it with a smart meter. This process typically takes 15-30 minutes. Installers will come to your door to notify you before work begins. If no one is home, they will proceed with work unless the meter indicates active water use. Commercial customers will be contacted separately prior to installation to ensure work doesn't interfere with business operations.
- Who will install my smart water meter?
The City of Allen has contracted with a company called Pedal Valves to install smart water meters at every Allen home and business. Installers will arrive in a marked vehicle and will wear a bright yellow vest with the Pedal Valves logo. Pedal Valves is the only contractor authorized by the City of Allen to work on your meter. Contractors will never ask to enter your home or backyard to complete required work.
- Who can see the details of my water use?
Customers who enroll in the City of Allen water customer portal will be able to view details of their own water use. Customers can also add a secondary user (such as a spouse, roommate or business partner) or link multiple utility accounts once enrolled. As in the previous metering system, water use data is also accessible by a limited number of City of Allen employees who oversee customer billing and account details. State law restricts municipal utilities from providing any personal information or water usage information to third parties without the account holder’s agreement (HB 872 effective Sept 1, 2021).
- Do I have to be at my home/business during installation?
No. Crews will proceed with installation unless the meter indicates active water use. Customers will find a door hanger notice on the front/main door once work is completed. Commercial customers will be contacted separately prior to installation to ensure work doesn't interfere with business operations.
- How will I know when my smart water meter has been installed?
Installers will leave a doorhanger on the front door immediately following smart water meter installation. You can also check the Smart Water Meter Installation Map to view completed neighborhoods and upcoming installations. Within 48 hours, customers will begin seeing hourly water use data displayed on their City of Allen customer dashboard.
- What happens if I experience a plumbing issue after my smart meter is installed?
All installers are trained on steps to prevent negative impact to customers’ plumbing, and reports of problems are very rare. Some customers may notice a small amount of remaining air or debris in the line following installation. This water is still safe to drink. To remove remaining air or debris, run cold water in a bathtub (preferred) or outdoor spigot for 3-5 minutes.
If customers encounter any other issues immediately after their smart meter installation, it is important to contact Pedal Valves, Inc. (the City's contracted installer) at 214.432.7288 so they can investigate and determine appropriate cause and resolution. If customers still have concerns, they should contact the City of Allen at 214.509.4560 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For weekend or after-hours emergencies, customers can always call the City of Allen's 24-hour water emergency hotline at 214.509.4530.
- I received a smart water meter, but did not receive prior notification or see my property listed on the map. Why?
As part of ongoing maintenance, the City of Allen may be required to replace a property's water meter ahead of scheduled installations by the City's contracted team. City meter crews will leave a notice on the front door with information about the new meter following installation. If you have questions, please contact Utility Billing at 214.509.4160 or email email@example.com for assistance.
- How do the new meters sense for leaks?
Customers who enroll in automatic leak alert through the City of Allen customer portal will be notified when the meter senses continuous water use. For single-family residential homes, leaks are detected when at least 3 gallons of water are consumed every hour for a minimum of 24 hours. Other alerts can also be enabled by the customer, such as abnormally high or unplanned use notifications. Customers can choose to be notified by email and/or text message.
- Will I be charged extra for a smart meter?
The upgrade to smart meters was funded through fees paid by developers of new commercial and residential properties. There is no charge related to the conversion.
- Can the City of Allen use water meter data to enforce watering restrictions or issue citations?
As in the previous metering system, water use data can be accessed by a limited number of City of Allen employees who oversee customer billing and account details. This allows customer service representatives (CSRs) to better assist customers who have questions about their water bills or water use patterns. Though CSRs may observe water use patterns which seem to indicate violations of current watering restrictions, current code compliance practices require clear evidence of a violation by a municipal court trained employee or a code compliance officer before a citation and/or enforcement action is made.
- Will smart meters cause my water bill to be higher?
Smart meters provide a more accurate measure of customer water use than previous, mechanical meters. Mechanical meters have been found to run more slowly over time, leading to instances where a customer's water use was underreported and therefore the bill to be low. The City of Allen stopped replacing old meters in 2019 in preparation for the citywide installation of smart water meters. This means meters that may now underreport water use may still be in use, resulting in lower bills that do not accurately reflect the full amount of water used. New meters will register all water consumption so customers are billed for accurate amounts.
- Will my water rate go up because of smart water meters?
The upgrade to smart meters was initially funded by fees paid by developers of new residential and commercial properties. The City of Allen adjusts water and sewer rates annually to balance revenues and expenses. For the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2022, treated water wholesale costs are increasing 13% and wholesale wastewater service costs are increasing 11%. These costs are paid to the North Texas Municipal Water District Additional funds are also needed to maintain Allen's 500+ miles of water lines and 370+ miles of sewer lines. It should be noted, the city has historically increased water and sewer rates when necessary and that rate adjustments usually become effective November 1 annually.
- Do smart meters measure both water and wastewater use?
Smart water meters record water consumption only. Residential customers are billed for wastewater only up to the first 10,000 gallons of water use. For use less than 10,000 gallons of water, the bill is computed using a charge per 1,000 gallons of water used. Commercial customers are billed for both water and wastewater for all water used inside the facility. This is because commercial customers are required to have separate water meters for their exterior landscaping. Commercial irrigation accounts do not pay a wastewater charge because the water does not enter the wastewater system.
- Do smart water meters emit radio frequencies? If so, what is the impact?
Smart water meters emit a brief radio frequency (RF) to transmit data from the meter to a data collection unit. The smart water meters selected by the City of Allen emit about 0.041 microwatts per square centimeter at a distance of 8 inches from the transmitter for a total daily transmission time of less than 1/3 of a second per day. This is far below the limit of 300 microwatts per square centimeter set by the Federal Communications Commission as a health standard. These low-level RF emissions do not interfere with any other electronic devices.
- Can I opt out of installing a smart water meter at my home or business?
The City of Allen’s citywide transition to smart meters will impact all customers, and individual accounts are unable to opt out.
- Will I still be able to turn off my water at the main valve after receiving a Smart Meter?
Yes, customers who have a water meter wrench and meter key will still be able to use those tools to remove the Smart Water Meter lid and access the water shutoff valve located near the curb. This method is sometimes used during water emergencies, such as major freeze events, to prevent damage from burst or broken pipes.
- Why did I receive a leak alert?
Customers will receive an automated leak alert if their smart water meter detects certain use patterns:
- "Continuous Leak Alerts" are sent automatically if at least 3 gallons of water are consumed every hour for a minimum of 24 hours. While this pattern may indicate a slow leak, these alerts can also be triggered during times of intentional continuous water use, such as slowly dripping faucets to prevent frozen pipes in cold weather, or when refilling a pool.
- "Burst Leak Alerts" are sent when a meter detects a large and sudden spike in water use. This spike could be caused by a burst pipe or water heater and should be investigated immediately to prevent damage to your home and property. If you need assistance shutting off water to your home due to a leak, please contact the City of Allen's 24/7 water emergency hotline at 214.509.4530.