How We Bill You

Automated Meter Reading FAQs

Automated Meter Reading (AMR) systems consist of small, low-power radio transmitters connected to individual water meters that send daily readings to a computerized billing system up to four times a day. AMR technology enables customers to view and manage their water consumption on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis through the internet with their MY DEP Account. To schedule the installation, repair or replacement of an AMR device, please contact Customer Service. Go to How We Bill You to learn more about AMR and water rates.

How does AMR work?

DEP will attach a small device to the side of your property that automatically transmits readings to electronic data receivers throughout the city. These receivers provide DEP with all relevant billing information and eliminate the need for water meter readers to visit your property.

What is the AMR Installation Process?

DEP may need to enter your home, depending on where your current water meter is installed; and we may need to temporarily shut off your water. In addition, old water meters may need to be replaced before an AMR transmitter can be properly installed. DEP will pay for these replacements. Installation of the transmitter will take around 30 minutes.

  • Step 1: If you have not made an appointment to have an AMR device installed, call us at (718) 595-7000 to get started. All DEP employees that come to your property will wear a uniform and badge. Feel free to ask for their identification.
  • Step 2: When the technician arrives to your property, they may need to replace the wire that goes from the meter to the outside of the house if it is broken or old.
  • Step 3: In about half of homes, the technician will also replace the water meter if it is more than 12 years old. Replacing meters in most homes involves briefly turning off the water, uncoupling the old meter and installing the new meter.
  • Step 4: When the new meter is installed, the technician turns the water back on. In doing so they test the meter to ensure it is operating.
  • Step 5: The technician will remove the old meter reading remote receptacle to install the AMR Transmitter (called an “MTU” for Meter Transmitter Unit).
  • Step 6: If the existing wires back to the water meter are in good condition the technician will reuse the existing wires.
  • Step 7: The technician will connect the MTU to the wires going to the water meter.
  • Step 8: The technician then uses a handheld computer to program the MTU, associating the MTU with your specific water meter.
  • Step 9: The job is finished when the MTU is screwed into place.

How do I know my bill is accurate?

The AMR system ensures that customers are billed based on their actual water consumption; not an estimate. AMR meter readings come from the same meter measurement device read in the past by DEP staff. The advantage of an AMR device is that it can provide you with readings on a daily basis. This means more information to help you take control of your water bill by identifying costly leaks.

What does DEP do to ensure that my bill is accurate?

DEP maintains a staff of quality assurance professionals to ensure the accuracy of your bill. Unusual billing spikes are flagged by our Customer Information System and reviewed before they are mailed. If the meter reading is in question, DEP will issue you an estimated bill until accurate readings are available. Customers who believe that their bill is inaccurate may submit a formal appeal. Once submitted, DEP staff will manually verify the accuracy of your bill and provide you with a written response.

Can AMR change my meter readings?

No, your AMR device cannot change your meter readings. As a one way transmission device, it does not have the ability to affect the device inside the water meter that measures your consumption.

Does AMR equipment meet industry and federal standards?

Yes. AMR technology is designed to function at very low power levels and is in widespread use throughout the utility industry. We only use AMR equipment that has been tested and is compliant with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) standards. Similar systems are already used by many other major cities, including Boston, Dallas, Detroit and Washington, D.C.

Why are my meter reads taken at different times of the day?

AMR water meter readings are taken at different times of the day to ensure that radio frequencies are transmitted and received properly.

Why are there no reads, just estimates on certain times or days?

More than 99% of all AMR readings are received without disruption. However, there are times when DEP is unable to receive the water meter’s signal. On these rare occurrences, the consumption graph will either indicate “Read not Available” or an average consumption will be displayed based on the next reading that is received. Because the AMR system sends daily water meter readings, isolated disruptions will not affect your water bill. If there are no reads for more than a week, please call our call center at (718) 595-7000 to schedule an appointment.

What are the benefits of AMR?

  • AMR eliminates the need to estimate your bill.
  • The My DEP Account lets you track your consumption from the comfort of your own home and can alert you to costly leaks.
  • AMR eliminates the need for a water meter reader to visit your premises.
  • AMR ensures that you receive an accurate bill.
  • AMR is a less expensive way to read water meters, especially those where monthly readings may be difficult or inconvenient. It is efficient, accurate, and has reduced DEP’s costs, which results in lower water and sewer rates for our customers.
  • AMR allows DEP to more closely monitor citywide consumption and more effectively manage the city’s water supply system.

How does AMR affect my bill?

AMR eliminates estimated bills and increases billing accuracy. AMR can also help alert you to household leaks so you are able to fix them before they affect your bill any further. You will continue to receive your water and sewer bills in the mail in accordance with your normal billing schedule.

Does AMR interfere with TV, personal computers, or other electronic equipment?

No. AMR equipment is outside your building in most cases and operates on a low-power frequency band reserved specifically for this purpose. It is highly unlikely to interfere with the operation of any other electronic equipment.

Does the AMR transmitter run on my home’s electricity?

No, AMR transmitters run on batteries with a 20 year lifespan.