The digital water utility
Smart metering opens the door to a world of opportunities.
Smart metering and digitalization can benefit your utility on 6 concrete levels:
2. Quality management
4. Customer relations
6. Asset management
Improved accuracy and enhanced data quality
One of the main advantages of the smart meter is its pinpoint accuracy.
Unlike its mechanical counterpart, the smart meter maintains its high accuracy throughout its entire lifetime.
This ensures better data quality and correct billing of your customers, which again protects and potentially increases your revenue.
Another advantage of a smart meter is its intelligence and ability to communicate.
The meter is able to give you precise knowledge through data directly from your distribution network so that you can make informed decisions about your operations.
More efficient meter reading
Remote reading minimizes or fully eliminates the need to manually read the meter, which requires physical access to the meter by the company personnel or to rely on the end user to conduct the reading and report the consumption figure.
Add to this the increased administrative work and the higher risk of error that comes with manual reading over the total lifetime of the meter.
As a result, you dramatically reduce time, costs and administration related to meter reading. Essentially this enables you to do more with fewer resources.
Minimized water loss
Fast detection and localization of leaks and bursts is key to reducing Non-Revenue Water and in doing so saving both water and money while minimizing inconvenience for the end users.
Water loss can be reduced significantly through specific leak monitoring and alarms in the meters.
Additionally, with frequent data from automatic meter reading, utilities are able to detect leaks in the network by making daily water balances and breaking down the volume of water that leaves the utility into smaller parts and comparing their development with the actual consumption.
Smart meter data on e.g. water temperature also allows you to better assess the risk of leaks related to frost damages so that you can prevent them from happening.
Improved customer service and involvement
With more frequent data directly from your network, you will be able to limit the number of service visits to solve problems or investigate irregularities because current and updated meter data are already available at the utility.
Just as importantly, you will be able to provide better and faster service to customers that contact you for help, because you have detailed knowledge of the state of your distribution network.
This also allows utilities to offer more advanced services to their customers including giving them insight into their consumption so that they are able to take charge of changing it.
Instant notification of irregularities
The more information you have, the faster and more focused you can react to any irregularities that may occur.
Instant notifications and alarms from the meters in your network regarding unexpected occurrences such as tampering attempts or reverse flow enable you to quickly take the necessary actions to prevent revenue loss and protect both network and your customers.
Following the technological breakthroughs in recent years, it is no longer just about smart meters and consumption data, but also about adding other smart devices to your distribution network such as sensors that can provide detailed data on other parameters, for example, water quality.
Breaking down the business case
There is a general consensus that (more frequent) meter data is a big part of the solution to many of the industry’s challenges because it can provide transparency – both in the utility’s operations and in the distribution network all the way to the consumer.
However, data only becomes valuable when you use it, so how do you calculate the value it can bring to justify the investment?