CRANBERRY TWP — Residents soon will have the ability to monitor their water usage down to the gallon and set thresholds through a new customer portal.
During a meeting of township supervisors last week, Greg Hoover, Cranberry's assistant director of public works and utility operations, said the portal is part of a nearly five-year project to overhaul the township's meter system. The project began with creating two-way communication between the township and consumers' meters.
From there, data is collected and linked to accounts, which allows for analysis and billing. The customer portal will allow customers to take the data and create custom alerts and notifications, Hoover said.
“This is a system that is completely in control of the customer,” he said.
The new customer dashboard, slated to go live Oct. 1, will present the data for customers for the current billing cycle. It also will allow them to compare usage from the previous day, week, month and year. Based on those comparisons, customers can set usage limits, as well as alerts for when the threshold is set to be exceeded.
“If you want to reduce your water bill by 10 percent, you can look and set your thresholds at 10 percent lower and try to meet those goals,” Hoover said.
The dashboard also lets customers set thresholds based on rainfall and temperature, which Hoover said is helpful to trend usage and limit excessive heating or cooling. The portal also allows customers to set vacation alerts, and notify neighbors or family if excessive water usage is determined while the resident is away.
Jerry Andree, township manager, said in the past, readings were done every other month. If a bad leak had occurred, there was no way to know, and customers would be hit with a large bill.
“Now, folks can know right away if there is a leak in their home,” he said. “This is a major enhancement to public service.”
The portal also allows the township to push alerts to customers, Hoover said. Andree noted that the two-way communication also cuts down on having township staff physically read meters, and the dashboard will hopefully cut down on the amount of time spent notifying customers of large bills or potential problems.
The portal is free to customers who sign up, and is mobile friendly, Hoover said. A text messaging system is in the works, he added. Sign-up information will be sent with October bills, and an open house for residents to sign up for the portal is set for Oct. 9.
“It's a great system and I think it'll be a benefit to any customer,” said Dick Hadley, supervisor chairman.