Mining is a way of life in the City of Safford, Arizona. The Safford open-pit copper mine creates jobs and continued growth for the area. With all utility operations—including water, gas and electricity—falling under the City of Safford’s small utility team, efficiency and customer service are top priorities in this close-knit community. So, when the city identified an opportunity to create efficiencies in their system, they seized it.
“Our infrastructure was old and aging badly,” said Julie Bryce, former business services AMI administrator, City of Safford. “This included all of our utilities, but it was especially true of our water infrastructure.”
The city sought to establish a smart utility network that included Sensus iPERL® residential water meters and the two-way FlexNet® communication system. Now, they can more accurately measure consumption and access near real-time data that helps to proactively alert customers to any potential issues.
The city’s water utility team embraced the transition with a hands-on attitude. They took advantage of resources within Sensus and the Sensus Partner and Advisor Network (SPAN), a group of customers that exchange ideas, solve challenges and provide valuable feedback on product development and relationship management.
“The networking and knowledge we gain from SPAN is invaluable,” said Bryce. “There’s always someone who’s been there, done that and fixed any issue you might be facing.”
Safford saw immediate results with customers appreciating their ability to report leaks faster. “We do yearly leak adjustments where we have to adjust customers’ water bills due to leaks that went undetected,” said Lorie Pedregon, lead business services representative, City of Safford. “With our new system, we reduced these adjustment costs by 40 percent based on the data we received.”
Next on the horizon for Safford is deploying Sensus Analytics, which will provide more in-depth analysis of their water data. “Don’t be scared to ask questions,” said Bryce. “Between the help we received from Sensus and the SPAN group in our initial deployment, we were able to gain a wealth of knowledge that we otherwise would not have had. We know they’ll be there for us in anything we do.”
Read the full case study to learn more about how Safford plans to leverage their investment and better serve customers.