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New York City is ahead of schedule on its goal of installing smart water meters for all city customers by 2012, officials said Monday, Aug. 9.

Automated meter reading (AMR) units have been installed for half of the city's customers, 417,000 in all, according to an announcement from the city Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway.

According to the city, the AMRs consist of "small, low-power radio transmitters connected to individual water meters that send daily readings to a network of rooftop receivers throughout the city." The receivers are part of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications' New York City Wireless Network.

The total cost of citywide installation is $252 million.

The new devices are intended to give customers more information about their daily water usage, in turn assisting conservation and leak detection. Most customers connected to the wireless network receive meter readings four times per day, while certain large buildings receive information hourly. Information on usage will be available by day, week, month, year and billing period. Customers can compare usage during those time frames.

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