WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington is temporarily postponing the meter change-out program after the city’s water department was notified by Fathom — the company in charge of the program — that they are ceasing business operations nationwide, the city announced.
Administration is working through what its legal rights and guarantees are while reviewing the financial impacts this change creates.
About a year ago the city contracted with Fathom, an Arizona-based company, for various performance and metering upgrades. These included an upgrade of all 5,000 meters in the system to be able to be automatically read, eliminating the need for meter readers, and modernizing the utility billing office operation.
The project began this summer, but all of the meter exchanges were not completed before Fathom’s ceasing of operations, scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 17.
About 3,000 meters have been fully installed.
“The good news is that of the installed meters, 98 percent of them are reporting into the system,” said Rick Schaffer, Wilmington’s Public Works Director,“so the automated read system is working quite well.”
The departure of Fathom, which has been in business more the 20 years, came as a surprise to the city.
“Dozens of cities across the country have been using Fathom.” Schaffer said. “I talked to several of them, and they gave glowing reviews.”
With Fathom pulling out of the project, utility billing operations will continue to be performed as it has been, as the city seeks new bids from meter installation companies for the exchange of the remaining meters.
“We will get this project completed as soon and as efficiently as possible,” said Brian Shidaker, Director of Public Service. “From preliminary reviews of other industry solution offerings, I am confident we will complete the project as intended, still modernizing our metering and billing operations, but with different vendors.”
Customers with questions may call the utility office at 937-382-5711.