One the feature of the new meters is that there is a flag for high consumption, possibly leading to early detection of leaks that cause spikes in bills.
Residents can also find out a lot of information by just "waking up" their meter by shining a flashlight at the head of it. The digital display turns on and gives two flashing numbers, one is the actual reading in gallons and the other number shows how much water is flowing through the meter at the moment it is being looked at.
"If you have a faucet on upstairs, or someone taking a shower you will be able to see the actual flow rate going through there," said Pollock. "If you are ready to go to bed you can go down there and look at the meter and it reads 0.00 for the gallons per minute then you know everything in that house is shut down. If you see some number in there then you know something, somewhere, there is still water flowing."
There is also an icon that looks like an outdoor water spigot, said Pollock, and if the icon is on continuously then there is some sort of leakage occurring over the past 24 hours. If the icon is flashing then it means that it hasn't been continuous, but is much more than normally expected. The meter analyzes every 15-minute interval in making that determination.
"If somebody has a question or a problem, we can actually go out there and each meter has a memory chip in it and it stores data for up to 30 days," said Pollock. "We can download a month's worth of data and look at it and see exactly what has happened over that month in a very precise fashion."
He said a resident a month ago had a very high consumption and a high bill, so the town's crew went to the house to look for leaks but couldn't find one. When town workers asked if anything had changed lately the resident said they just had a new dishwasher put in 15 minutes before the workers arrived.