How to Create Manual Read Properties

Roles: Admins, Manual Readers, Billing Managers
Last updated: May 2022

Many properties may collect utility reads manually instead of utilizing an automatic NextCentury system. These Manual Read properties typically have Readers that physically visit the property each billing period to collect reads.

Sensors, radios, or other systems may be utilized to collect reads. In many cases, Readers may instead inspect meters visually and collect reads on spreadsheets or with pen and paper. These methods are typically susceptible to errors, inefficiencies, and less frequent property visits. 

The NextCentury platform streamlines this process by supporting many different manual read methods, standardizing reads, and employing user-friendly tools allowing for greater accuracy. 

The NextCentury Manual Read App allows Readers to quickly and efficiently collect reads with minimal errors, while the NextCentury Web Portal allows users to access reads, alerts, consumption reports, and many additional features. Collected reads are securely stored on the NextCentury Cloud, allowing users to view up to 6 months of read history. Direct Read options and the ability to import reads with drive-by, walk-by, and scan gun equipment are supported

This article outlines how to create and configure properties for manual reads in the NextCentury Web Portal. For information on how Readers can use the NextCentury Manual Read App, see Manual Read App


Programming a Manual Read Property

Step 1. Create a property

For information on creating a property, see How to Create a New Property Listing

Step 2. Enable manual reads

Navigate to the property's Details page and toggle the Manual Reads service.



Select Enable Manual Reads to confirm.



Once enabled, the start date and renewal date will then be set.

Step 3. Configure settings

Open the property's Settings page and select Manual Read Settings.



Enter the Contractor or Billing Company that will be responsible for the manual reads.



Add users responsible for gathering reads by selecting + Add Reader and entering their email address.


Note: Once added, users will receive an invitation in their email inbox which will allow them to access the property in the NextCentury Manual Read App and assign them as a Reader to the property.


Select the Reading Method that will be utilized at the property.


Note: The NextCentury Manual Read platform allows for many different manual reading systems and inputs. For reads which are visually inspected, select Direct Read


Choose the Starting Read Month for when the first collection period will begin.



Select the Due Date on which each collection period will be due.



Set the Grace Period to allow Readers additional days, past the Due Date, to collect reads.



Select the Frequency which will determine the collection period and how often Readers should visit the property to collect reads.



Enter Contact Info and any relevant Notes for the property.



Once done configuring Manual Read Settings, select Save.



Once saved, select Edit to make any future changes.


Step 4. Add a property layout

 Navigate to the property's Program page and select Start Programming.



To add a building, select the + next to the Building icon on the toolbar.



Enter the building name, description, and number of units. 



By default, the unit names will begin with "Unit 101" and will increment automatically. To turn this feature off simply uncheck the Auto Increment checkbox and fill in each unit name manually. After ensuring that the Unit labels are correct click Save.


Step 5. Add utility and meter information

To add utilities and meters, highlight the desired unit(s), select the + next to the Utility icon, and choose the utility type to add.



Select the Meter icon in the cell to open the Meter Builder.



Fill out the Meter information in the Meter Builder and then click Save.


Note: The default meter type will auto-populate for you.


Quickly copy meter types by dragging the fill-handle in the corner of the cell.


Step 6. Add route order

 Enter the order in which the units should be read under the Route Order column.


Note: If no Route Order is set, one will be created automatically based on the path taken by the first Reader at the property.

Step 7. Enter optional fields

  Additional fields can be entered by selecting columns from the Show/Hide dropdown menu.


Note: Serial Number, IMR, and Accessory Device columns are not used on Manual Read properties.


Select Meter ID to enter meter serial numbers.



Select Custom ID to enter any other custom fields.



Select Description to enter notes or other comments for each unit.



Units can be resorted by selecting a column under the Sort dropdown menu.


Step 8. Review and save changes

Select Save Programming.



Review and select Save Changes.



green ribbon will appear indicating that the programming has successfully been saved.



Unique serial numbers will also be generated for each unit at this time. These serial numbers can be used to identify each unit if needed.  



Once saved, the property will be viewable to assigned Readers on the NextCentury Manual Read App.