These are the Questions and Answers from the webinar, Integrating Customer Consumption Data with Maps: Save Water & Save Money
- Q1: In the customer assistance/cutoff map, where did you obtain the economic-demographic data? We've tried to use Census data but found it was too coarse and didn't get down to neighborhood level.
- A1: In the map we displayed, it was based on census data. The block groups were of small enough geographic extent that we could reliably use them. However, for utilities that have tax parcel IDs stored with their meter data, we prefer to use tax parcel information for our affordability proxies.
- Q2: Does the City of High Point have any irrigation restrictions in place? (i.e. once/twice a week watering)
- A2: No, the City of High Point does not currently have any irrigation restrictions in place. Since a drought in North Carolina in the late 2000’s, water use has reduced/stabilized in High Point. Additionally, the City of High Point has a strong water supply.
- Q3: Can we get this PowerPoint as well as the Valor PDF under handouts?
- A3: Yes, the Water Utilities Meetup content can be found here.
- Q4: The service address information in the billing system is often very different from the GIS address information. Unless you can tie the two together in some fairly high percentage, much of the data will be missing. What percentage of billing accounts are generally included in the analysis?
- A4: There are often issues with integrating a utility’s billing system with their GIS. We tend to work with utilities who have already taken steps towards integrating the two, but otherwise we will geocode the premise’s address and use that. For the past few datasets we have worked with, this worked for about 99% of the data, and the GIS team at the utility would then cross-check to see if our billing data made sense with their GIS
- Q5: How do they differentiate between irrigation and non-irrigation use? 2 separate meters at each residence?
- A5: Yes, High Point strives to have two separate meters at each residence that could potentially irrigate outside. However, there are some residences that do irrigate outside and do not have separate meters (e.g., “Hidden Irrigators” on Slide 8 in the PowerPoint presentation). Valor has helped the City of High Point identify these “hidden irrigators” that should potentially have an irrigation meter installed.
- Q6: What data sources did you use to generate assistance hotspots?
- A6: This was a calculated blend of census data at the block level and the utility’s cutoff customer data.
- Q7: In the "Identifying Changing Water Use Patterns" maps, is the comparison to historical use based on that premise's historical use? How do you address service start/stop consumption history?
- A7: All of our calculations are initially premise level. For this map, we will only compare data for a premise vs. the premise’s historic average if there is at least three complete years of data for that premise. Otherwise, the historic average would not be accurate.
- Q8: Can this analysis be done without smart metering capabilities? (AMR/AMI)
- A8: Yes, definitely. The City of High Point currently uses AMR, as do many of the other utilities that Valor partners with to run these types of analyses. All of the maps you see are based on monthly data, and a lot of insights can be gained from just that. If a utility has AMI, we can integrate to give more updates and more detailed metrics but it is not necessary.
Please comment below if you have any other questions.