Stopping Water Theft


Case File #102—If your customer reversed their water meter for weeks would you know about it? How many years might go by, particularly with an indoor meter before the theft is discovered? Water theft is a serious problem and occurs more often than some utilities are aware.

Chart1 Master

Chart 1: Daily Consumption for November

3G Technology™ Stopping Theft: The Boro of Leesport, PA, a town of approximately 1,800 people and a recent victim of resource theft detected and intercepted the culprit with Master Meter’s DIALOG® 3G Mobile AMR technology. 3G provides more data than just an efficient remote read. It gives the utility actionable intel with scalable 4,000 meter read data logging and Revenue Impact Alerts™ that guard against theft, leaks, tamper and zero consumption scenarios. Together, 3G’s unique features become a watchdog against dishonest customers.

Theft Discovery: Bo McLean of Exeter Supply, Master Meter’s local PA distributor, recently performed a random Theft Report (counter clockwise flow report) using 3G technology while presenting the technology to a potential customer from a nearby city. A single Theft Alarm popped up. 3G’s integral data logging feature verified the reverse flow—theft was clearly evident. For 11 consecutive days in November (Chart 1) and 19 days in December (Chart 2) meter flow was reversed.

C.C. Davis, Maintenance Engineer and Water Chairman for the Boro of Leesport was presented this information and a visit to the customer was made. Mr. Davis explained to the customer that there was a problem reading the meter and a physical inspection was required. The customer was confronted with the theft alarm but explained that “he had done some plumbing work and accidentally reinstalled it backwards.” He was then confronted with the detailed data logging reports that provided irrefutable evidence and made the theft alarms ring true, loud and clear.

Chart 2 Master

Chart 2: Daily Consumption for December

The customer broke down and admitted that he deliberately reversed his meter to get free water and asked, “How did you guys know?” With 3G technology—that’s how. Given Leesport’s quarterly billing schedule, fortunately the theft pattern was discovered and stopped early.

Resolution: Reverse flow was accounted for with 3G data logging and added back to the water bill. The wayward customer paid $50 in additional fees and was cautioned with threat of prosecution and up to $300 in fines for any future violation. He got off lucky this time. 3G Mobile AMR technology from Master Meter guards against theft and protects your bottom line. Visit for more information and to locate an authorized Master Meter Distributor near you.