Ferndale to Replace Water Meters Citywide

November 19, 2019

On Sept. 9, 2019, Ferndale City Council unanimously approved a plan to replace water meters throughout the city. The new meters will replace the city’s current aging units, which have begun failing at increasing rates and producing unpredictable extreme water bills for some residents.  

The City will partner with Utility Metering Solutions (UMS) to replace meters for all residential and business properties with new Neptune water-smart system meters, provided by Ferguson Waterworks. Ferguson, one of the nation’s largest waterworks companies, offers a secure, cloud-based smart-water system accessible on mobile devices, allowing customers to see their water usage in real-time, set notifications to alert them when their water use is higher than normal, and send alerts to utility staff, increasing transparency for both residents and Water Department staff.

The replacement process will begin in late November will continue through July of 2020. You will receive a letter from UMS when it’s time for your property’s meter replacement. You will be asked to schedule a two-hour appointment, during which UMS will complete the replacement at no cost to you. For greater appointment date/time availability, please be sure to schedule your appointment as soon as possible upon receiving your letter.  

Frequently Asked Questions

When was this decided?

On Sept. 9, 2019, Ferndale City Council unanimously approved a plan to replace the water meters throughout the City of Ferndale. An informational letter was sent to all residents on October 23, 2019,  providing a notice of these water meter replacements.  

What are the benefits of a new meter? Why are we doing this?

The new smart-water system allows for replacement of the City’s existing meters and transmission radios, which are failing at levels of 30%, as well as greater transparency in residency billing. The system also offers many new features, such as the opportunity to see water usage in real time, set notifications to alert you when your water use is higher than normal, and send alerts to utility staff, increasing visibility for both residents and Water Department staff.  


No. The new system uses “dumb meters” just like the one currently installed on your property. It will be a simple mechanical device consisting mostly of a few gears, just like the current meters.

When will my meter need to be replaced?

The replacement process is slated to begin in October of 2019 and continue through July of 2020. The schedule for replacement is not being performed by geographic area, but rather is determined by past issues, billing cycle, and other criteria; because of this, we aren't able to predict or share a replacement calendar. You will be contacted by mail (with follow-ups by door hangers as needed) when your particular meter replacement will be necessary—until then, you can sit tight.

I received an initial letter from the City... do I need to do anything?

No. The City mailed an initial letter to all properties in Ferndale to provide baseline information. There's no need to act until you receive your letter from UMS.

When will I need to schedule my appointment?

Only upon receiving the letter from UMS. We cannot schedule your appointment ahead of time. Your UMS letter will provide instructions about how to schedule an appointment. Appointments must be scheduled within one week of receiving the letter to ensure the best date/time availability.  

Is this service mandatory?  

Yes, this service is required of all properties. Utility equipment (meters, power lines, etc.) is owned and by the municipality or company responsible for providing the service--in this case, the water meter and radio transmitter is owned by the City of Ferndale. The City has the legal right to make updates and repairs as necessary for continued function and operation.

Is this new equipment safe?

Yes. The technology being installed is no different that what is currently on your home/property; it's simply a newer and more updated version to provide consistent and reliable service.

Will this cost me anything?  

No; there is no direct cost associated with this replacement.  


No. The new system will only do exactly what the current system does: measure how much water is used at your property. No additional information is collected. The biggest changes will be the improved reliability of the new radio unit and the improved access you’ll have to information about your property’s water usage.

Will Utility Metering Solutions (UMS) need access to my property?  

Yes. UMS will need access to your property, as the meter and associated parts are both internally and externally located. Your UMS representative will arrive wearing a uniform and carrying official identification.

What is required of me during the scheduled appointment?
  • The area around the meter and service line must be clear and accessible.  
  • Plumbing valves should be in good working order.  
  • An individual 18 years or older must be present.  
  • Pets must be secured.  
How long will it take?  

The allotted time for the appointment is two hours. UMS will contact you closer to the scheduled time with further information.  

Why isn’t there an option to opt-out of this?

The City of Ferndale is committed to effective management of our critical water resources and takes our responsibility for protecting and providing this resource seriously. This work will bring DPW closer to achieving its goals of efficiency and ensuring all residents have equal opportunities for water meter credibility. Your participation in this process is crucial and we appreciate your understanding.  

Who can I contact with questions?

For additional information, please contact the City’s Water Billing Department at 248-546-2374 or by emailing waterbilling@ferndalemi.gov. Please note that representatives cannot schedule appointments nor do they have information about the replacement schedule.


Kara Sokol

Communications Director