AMI Frequently Asked Questions
Information for Ventura County Waterworks Districts (District) Nos. 17 (Bell Canyon) & 38 (Lake Sherwood) customers who would like to access the Sensus Analytics Customer Portal.
Q: What is AMI?
A: AMI stands for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. It consists of a low-powered communication device that is added to your new water meter. The communication device collects the meter read each hour. The device transmits hourly water usage information over a secure network approximately six times per day. Using AMI, you will have access to more frequent and detailed information about your water consumption, allowing you better control over your water usage and monthly bills.
Q: Is my username and password for the AMI Customer Portal the same as the username and password for the billing website “Cislink”?
A: No. the billing website is separate from the AMI Customer Portal. The billing site allows customers to view their bills, pay their bills online, and sign-up for e-Bills. The AMI Customer Portal is a separate website that allows the customer to look at their hourly water usage data.
Q: What are the password requirements for the AMI Customer Portal?
A: The customer must select a password that has a minimum of 7 characters with at least one upper case letter and one number.
Q: How do I create a new account?
A: Go to https://my-vcws.sensus-analytics.com and click the link that says, “Need to set up an account?” Enter the email address that you wish to register and select the “Get Started” button. Follow the link that was sent to your email to register. In order to sign up, you will need to enter your name as it appears on the bill and your customer account number (enter with no spaces or dashes).
Q: How do I add new alerts?
A: In the customer portal, click the button that says, “add alert recipient”. Enter the alert recipient’s name, email, and cell phone number. Select which type of alerts you would like this recipient to receive by checking the corresponding boxes for each type of alert, such as daily usage alert. Click on “add alert recipient” to save the alert notification.
Q: How do I edit my alerts?
A: Click the “edit” button next to the alert that you would like to change. Change the desired information by clicking into the field. To change the type of alerts, select or deselect the check boxes that correspond to the desired alert notifications. Click “save” to save any changes.
Q: How does this enhance customer service?
A: The AMI water meters provide daily and hourly water use information, along with your current monthly information. Each household can monitor their usage by logging on to the District’s water-use portal. By signing up for free access to the Customer Portal, you can elect to receive text message, email, or phone call alerts, if your water usage indicates a potential leak or abnormal usage.
Q: How can I use the Customer Portal to check for a water leak?
A: If you suspect there is a possible leak, you can login to the Customer Portal and view your hourly water usage history. Spikes in water usage, especially in the middle of the night, that indicate unusual water usage and/or continuous hourly water usage could indicate a possible leak. Use the customer portal to compare your usage trends. You can also create alerts to email, text, and call you if your water usage exceeds a water usage limit set by you, the customer.
Q: How often does AMI transmit my meter reading?
A: Data from your AMI meter is transmitted six times a day (every four hours) but will show hourly usage on the customer portal.
Q: Is the Ventura County Waterworks District able to shut off my water meter remotely for any reason, including a water leak or for non-payment?
A: No. The new AMI technology will not have remote shut-off capabilities. However, by having more frequent and detailed access to your own water usage information, you can identify sudden usage spikes or continuous water flow that could indicate a leak.
Q: Why is my water bill higher than normal?
A: The new water meters will have a higher level of accuracy compared to the old meters. Customers may see an increase in their water bill based on the new meter’s higher level of accuracy.
However, an unusually high-water bill is most often caused by a leak or change in water use. Other common causes of high-water bills include:
- A leaking toilet
- A dripping faucet or shower
- Filling a swimming pool or spa
- Irrigation system issues
- Guests or kids’ home for vacations
- Water-cooled air conditioners
Broken water pipe or appliance/fixture leak
Q: Will the timing of my water bills change?
A: The timing of your water bill will NOT change. However, hourly water use data will be available online by logging into the Customer Portal.
Q: How does the District ensure the new meters are accurate?
A: The meters use electronic registers that are guaranteed by the manufacturer to be accurate. The meter technology has been tested by manufacturers and implemented in many large water utilities through the country. All meters are tested by the manufacturer prior to leaving the factory.
Q: What unit of measure does the customer portal use to show my usage?
A: The customer portal uses CCF (Centum Cubic Feet) which is the same as HCF (Hundred Cubic Feet). This is the same unit of measurement that the District uses to bill you.
For example, 1 Unit = 1 CCF/HCF = 748 Gallons
Q: Is AMI secure?
A: AMI utilizes the FlexNet® communication network which operates on a dedicated radio spectrum and is protected by law from interference. The FlexNet® communication network is based on licensed spectrum providing its own built-in, multi-layered security shield—in which all layers are active all the time to protect data at rest and in transmission.
Q: How do I know that my water usage data displayed on the customer portal is my data and does not belong to someone else?
A: Every customer account is connected to its own specific water meter, which has its own unique meter identification number. District technicians program each meter to send information over the AMI system. The meter number appears on every account and can be field verified.
Q: Are there any health hazards associated with the new technology?
A: RF energy produced by smart meters is not harmful and is comparable to cellular phone devices, wireless baby monitors, television broadcasts, garage door openers, microwave ovens, cordless home phones, and Wi-Fi networks. In addition, because Sensus Analytics’ metering systems communicates over licensed spectrum, they are in complete compliance with FCC rules and regulations.
For additional information, please visit https://www.vcpublicworks.org/wsd/customerservice/
or call (805) 378-3000, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.