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2018 Annual Report to Membership
March 12, 2018; Adjourned to April 16, 2018
I am pleased to report to the membership that Davidson Water, Inc. has 61,471 total connections and 54,704 active meters. That is an increase of 721 active taps from prior year. We added 545 new water taps in the past year. That is an increase of 81 over prior year and the highest number since 2008. Currently, we have 72 full-time employees and 4 part-time employees.
Last year, we announced a new logo design for the company. We partnered with DCCC Digital Image class to design and present a new updated logo. We picked one of the designs, tweaked it a little and begin our rebranding with the new logo.
Water Treatment Plant and Water Quality - The Gregg Stabler Water Plant ran an average of 9.37 mgd with a maximum daily production of 12.73 mgd. This is slightly down from prior year in spite of us being up in customers. The combination of low flow fixtures and customer conservation is greatly contributing to this downward trend of water consumption which has been going on the last ten years. We have maintained full compliance with all state mandated tests. We partnered with North Carolina Rural Water Association and conducted a Physical/Chemical Grade I school in which one operator participated. Operational changes to our dechlorination process were kept in place from the previous year allowing a savings of over $25,000 annually. A substantial project underway is a 12-filter rehabilitation in the CO Pickle WTP. Rehab includes demo of existing filters, recoating pipe gallery infrastructure and new under-drain and air scour system. This project is budgeted at $2.35 million, and met “Substantial Completion” on February 9, 2018.
Our distribution system saw line upgrades, line extensions and pipe relocation of 10.08 miles. Projects included Fairview Church Road, Riverside & Lake Shore Drive, Georgetown Road, and Voncannon Mobile Home Park. We completed three NC DOT projects requiring line relocations and 8 different new or expanded subdivision projects. The $6.5 million Hyattown Pump Station was completed. This pump station is outfitted with new more-efficient pumps, new electrical equipment, a larger generator for back-up power and larger piping with the room to add on more. We estimate this new station will carry us out to the year 2060. Also, we begin design work for a new pump station on Hargrave Road along with a 24” transmission line from Tyro to the new pump station.
Our meter department installed 3,452 radio read meters bringing the total number in our system to 46,975. We plan to have all meters replaced with AMR (Automatic Meter Read) technology by the end of 2019. These meters are very accurate, have a 10 year warranty and are the best value for the company to measure and bill for water.
Customer Service, Cybersecurity and IT - Last year we continued to see increase in online activity. We emailed 12% of our bills versus US mail and over 50% of our transactions are done electronically. We sent 71,674 water bill notices to customers by email. We sent another 775 emails to customers when their readings indicated an abnormally high consumption amount, to help alert them to a potential leak. To help alert those customers that were in danger of being cutoff because of non-payment, we sent 7,455 emails as a courtesy. This was in addition to a statement that is also printed on their water bill indicating that the customer is scheduled for disconnect. Also, we expanded more robo calls for outage notification.
We have implemented several significant server upgrades focused on email, web, and databases, to meet and exceed the need for increased security standards. In the spring of 2017, we started utilizing a service called Perch. Perch monitors network traffic for malicious indicators, as well as to provide us with indicators of potential threats seen by other organizations. We also have improvements underway that will enhance the features for the customer on our website, as well as to provide an interface for our employees to access information regarding their employment.
We have increased the reach and scope of our “Work-Order” software, as well as the Dashboard software to handle customer information and billing functions. About a year ago, we started included a coded link in the emailed bills, which allows a customer to pay their water bill directly without first needing to log into our website. This is the second year we have provided the option to submit proxies online. As a result, we have seen an increase over the previous year and this is definitely improving our returned proxies over mailing option we previously used.
For employees, we instituted a wellness program called Healthy 2 Options or H20. Also, we implemented a new uniform program incorporating our new logo. The program gives an allowance for employees to choose Carhartt brand clothing for comfort, style and durability. This program has been well received.
Employee giving – Davidson Water employees have demonstrated an admirable need to give back to the community in more ways than one. Again, we set a record in employee giving in our annual United Way campaign contributing over $9,000.00. And our annual Food Drive at Christmas is always a huge success. Our employees contributed $435 in cash and 795 lbs (doubling last year’s effort) of food for Greater Things Outreach Center in Welcome. We partnered with local schools and First National Bank and contributed over $790.00 in Christmas gifts to Angel Tree children. Also, we contributed $1,024.00 to Samaritan’s Purse.
Effective January 1, 2017, we instituted the Water Loss Protection Plan (WLPP) for our customers. This opt-out program gives a member relief from an unanticipated high water bill in any given 24-month period of time. The charge is .50 per month. The number of customers opting out of the program has been less than 1/10th percent. Based on customer reviews and the revenue generated, we believe this program to be a huge success.
Davidson Water annually awards four $1,500.00 scholarships to deserving high school seniors in memory of past board members. Last year, recipients were: Kelly Crisp, West Davidson High School; Kelsey Hoover, Ledford High School; Kyleigh Miller, North Davidson High School; and Ian Vickers, Wheatmore High School.
Our company is fortunate to have community stewards serve on our board of directors. One of whom is retiring from the board tonight. I want to recognize Danny Fitzgerald for 34 years of service on the board. Danny has served as a Director since January, 1984. In 2007 Danny was elected Vice President and has continued in that office since. On the board, Danny has served as calm voice often interjecting wise comment, especially on construction and equipment matters. Danny, we thank you for your service. We will miss you.
In closing, I want to emphasize our commitment to our mission of providing safe reliable water to our members at the lowest possible cost. We will continue to do that with the leadership of our board and management, the expert guidance of our professional staff, the dedication and expertise of our employees, and the support of our members. Thank you for your support.
Ron Sink, General Manager