Cuyahoga Falls approves $3.7 million settlement with four companies

Electric, water metering system to be updated

STAFF REPORT
An Advanced Metering Infrastructure system will feed information from electric and water meters throughout the city to city hall, under terms of an agreement approved Monday.

CUYAHOGA FALLS — New electric and water meters and other remote monitoring infrastructure are to be installed throughout the city between now and some time next year, under terms of a settlement agreement approved last night by city council.

Cuyahoga Falls City Council unanimously voted Monday to approve a legal settlement worth more than $3.7 million with Johnson Controls, Inc., Badger Meter, Inc., Aclara Technologies, LLC, and Conxx, Inc.

The resolution of this case brings closure to a lawsuit the city brought against Johnson Controls dating back to a 2008 contractual agreement regarding the installation of an automated meter reading system and its related performance guarantee.

The settlement consists of a combination of $700,000 in monetary compensation and goods and services to be rendered at discounted rates, which are to be used exclusively for an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system that includes new water and electric meters together with new transmission software and hardware.

“I am incredibly pleased with this outcome and that we are finally able to receive these concessions from the parties for this level of products and services,” city Law Director Janet Ciotola said in a release. “I am confident that, with this settlement, we will be able to move forward with a reliable system that will be closely monitored to ensure that all contractual obligations are successfully produced and implemented.”

In 2008, Johnson Controls, Inc. subcontracted work to Aclara Technologies, Badger Meter and Conxx, Inc.

As part of the settlement, the city announced each entity is required to provide the following:

Aclara Technologies — The city will enter into an agreement with Aclara Technologies for the Aclara One System, a new AMI system, which includes new software, electric meters, meter transmitting units, and data collection units. This communications network will electronically transmit meter reads directly to city hall, enabling the city to monitor customer usages, including irregularities, and provide remote disconnect capabilities.

Badger Meter — The city will enter into an agreement with Badger Meter for the purchase of new E-Series polymer water meters and mechanical meters. The E-Series is a significant upgrade to the city’s current meters. The E-Series Meter employs solid-state electronic technology in an encapsulated, weatherproof, and UV-resistant cover to provide long-term, highly accurate flow measurement for the water utility.

Conxx, Inc. — The city will enter into an agreement with Conxx, Inc. for a Grid Observer, a new electronic monitoring system. This network management software provides proactive monitoring and reporting, which increases the operational efficiency of the AMI system. This technology can warn of impending hardware or network issues, thereby helping the city address problems before they occur.

The settlement agreement and contracts are anticipated to be executed by Aug. 1. Aclara Technologies will then begin to install infrastructure and some new meters throughout the city for testing purposes. Once the city is satisfied that the new AMI system is properly functioning, deployment of new electric and water meters throughout the city will begin. The process is anticipated to take roughly 12-18 months with project completion expected in 2021.