In the US, the North Marin Water District kicked off a pilot project to test the ability of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to improving its billing processes.Under the $850,000 AMI project, the utility district installed some 200 smart water meters and 26 antennas to provide connectivity between the smart meters and the utility headquarters.
The AMI technology is expected to help North Marin Water District to accurately bill its consumers through the elimination of estimated water billing.
Smart meter pilot project
The launch of the smart meter pilot project comes at a time the utility had only three personnel reading up to 20,500 analogue meters within the company's distribution network.
The smart water meters will help the water company to improve its customer services to some 60,000 water consumers in Novato (California).
With the AMI technology, consumers will be able to identify potentials to improve their water efficiency by having access to their usage data in real time using mobile devices.
David Bentley, finance manager for the North Marin Water District, commented: “It will help us and the customers to detect leaks right away.
"Now, they get a bill once every two months.”
The results of the smart meter pilot project will help North Marin Water District in deciding whether to deploy the smart water meter technology to all its 20,500 metering points at a cost of $5.5 million over the next two years.
Smart water meter adoption
Meanwhile, the city of Abilene in Texas has plans underway to replace existing analogue water meters with more advanced models.
Rodney Taylor, director of Water Utilities in the city of Abilene, said: "Customers are very limited on the amount of information they have before them, as far as their consumption patterns and their usage [are concerned].”
If the proposal to install smart water meters is approved by the Abilene city council, residents will be better equipped to reduce water consumption through the provision of real-time usage data. Consumers will have the ability to track their water usage on an hourly basis.
Furthermore, the project is expected to help Abilene’s water department to optimise its revenue collection with improved accuracy in water billing and quick identification of meter tampering and water leaks.
The smart water meters project is expected to cost the utility department $10 million to $15 million over a period of two years. [UK water company expands deployment of AMI project].