Smart metering is critical for Australian water utilities, survey finds


Rob Broadstock,
Senior Director,
JAPAC, Oracle
Sydney, Australia — (METERING.COM) — October 14, 2010 – The majority of water utility executives in Australia believe it is critical that their organizations adopt smart metering technologies, according to a new survey from Oracle Utilities.

More than 80% agreed or strongly agreed they must adopt smart metering, and more than half indicated that their organizations had assessed the opportunity for smart metering technology, while more than quarter had implemented a pilot smart meter program. Further, the executives estimated that 20% of their customers would make use of consumption data generated by smart meter technologies.

Almost a third of the water utilities that are considering or have implemented smart meter technology are doing so to alleviate the pressure on limited water resources, while more than half of the executives nominated as one of the top benefits of smart meter technologies the ability to supply customers with tools to monitor and reduce water usage. Other benefits included providing more accurate water rates (48%) and enabling early leak detection (27%).

The survey was conducted among 33 water utility executives across Australia with the aim of exploring the opportunities for water utilities to benefit from smart meter technology. Almost all of these (94%) claimed to be actively promoting water conservation, with the most common being education programs in schools (39%).

In addition a survey was conducted involving 751 residents in order to examine the level of demand for advanced metering systems amongst consumers. Most (92%) are concerned with the need to conserve water in the community and in their homes, and just over two-thirds were willing to decrease their personal water use in return for an incentive or rebate for reduced use. While 59% expressed interest in a complimentary online tool allowing them to monitor water use and access detailed consumption and cost data on demand, 53% also expressed willingness to spend up to Au$20 (US$20) on an one-off fee to access an online water consumption tool.

On average, the consumers estimated they could realistically reduce their current water usage by 9%.

Commenting on the survey, Rob Broadstock, Senior Director, JAPAC, Oracle Utilities, said: “Clearly, everyone is interested in protecting one of our most precious resources. Smart metering technology enables water utilities provide more detailed, timely information to consumers so they can make more informed decisions about how to conserve water each day.”