Advanced metering technology cuts customer bills up to 50 percent


Oldham, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — December 5, 2007 – Technology developed by Sensus Metering Systems could help 2,500 households in Oldham cut their district heating scheme bills by up to 50 percent – and at the same time provide significant financial benefits to the local metropolitan council. In what is a ground-breaking project, it will soon be possible for thousands of energy meters to be read remotely and automatically in council-owned homes linked to district heating schemes across a 120 square mile area of Oldham. As a result, residents will pay only for the heating energy that they use, rather than being billed a fixed amount.

The Sensus((S))cout AMR technology will ultimately enable all the energy meters to be read from a central office location using a fixed radio network. There will be no requirement for manual meter reading.

The project, led by Switch2 Energy Solutions, forms an integral part of Oldham Metropolitan Council’s ‘Affordable Warmth’ Strategy and is in direct response to resident wishes to move from a fixed heating cost to an arrangement based on consumption. Such an approach rewards those households that are energy conscious.

Switch2’s managing director Jayne Clare says: “The Oldham project brings together the latest technology to measure and read energy consumption linked to the district heating scheme. This means that residents pay only for the heat they use, which will make households much more energy conscious – and that will also impact on the energy required to run the district heating scheme…and on its CO2 footprint.

“Moreover, the fact that all the meters in the 2,500 homes can be read automatically and remotely will also deliver significant operational benefits to the Council.”

The effect of the Sensus technology is already being felt – some households are reportedly cutting up to 50 percent off heating bills compared to the previous un-metered supply.

The Sensus((S))cout AMR system works by attaching a transponder to each energy meter, enabling consumption data to be forwarded to GSM gateways and then onto a central location using a repeater network set up to cover the homes in the 120 square mile area. The solution is completely scalable, depending upon topology.

Jamie Longman of Sensus Metering Systems says: “We are currently working on a number of automatic meter reading projects in the UK and Ireland that enable utilities, water companies and their energy partners to read thousands of meters systematically through an unbroken and seamless data chain that stretches from the meter point via the IT system up to the billing process.

“Not only does Sensus((S))cout drive up operational efficiency through remote reading technology, it also adds value by delivering real time information to energy providers about business critical issues, including leakage and broken pipe detection and tamper alerts.”