Badger Meter will serve as the prime contractor for the project to retrofit the Orion system on approximately 80,000 existing residential and commercial water meters and install new meters with the Orion system at as many as 82,000 locations where existing meters will be replaced because of the age of the meters. The city water department staff will collect the meter readings via radio frequency by driving down the street in a computer-equipped vehicle.
"Chicago is the largest city that has committed to Orion to date, a strong indicator of the acceptance this popular, innovative and award-winning product is receiving in the utility marketplace. The contract builds on the relationship we have had with the Chicago Department of Water Management for many years, and provides the potential for Badger to become involved in the city's plans to ultimately meter all of its locations," said Richard A. Meeusen, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Badger Meter.
Meeusen said the city of Chicago will continue to use Badger Meter's line of plastic water meters, which are as durable and reliable as brass meters but are more economical given the recent volatility in copper prices. "Orion is a proven system, with almost 1.5 million units currently installed. Shipments under the new contract are expected to begin later in 2007," said Meeusen.
Orion is a flexible AMR system that uses proprietary packaging and combines sophisticated receiver, antenna and radio-frequency transmission technology to collect information from the meter and transmit it to the utility by simply driving down the street. Orion is also compatible with networks that transmit meter readings using power lines, existing networks or the latest Wi-Fi technology.