A quick and cost-effective way for water wholesalers and retailers to improve the quality of their data

A quick and cost-effective way for water wholesalers and retailers to improve the quality of their data
NEWS FEATURES FIRE & SECURITY SUBMISSIONS RESOURCES

A key issue facing water wholesalers and retailers today is data quality. There are multiple facets to this but there is one that can be addressed quickly and cost-effectively; meter readings.

Water meters are read manually or they are equipped with AMR (automated meter reading) technology. However, traditional AMR meters still need periodic manual reads to confirm the register reading. Taking manual readings of water meters, is fraught with difficulties due to location, including difficult or dangerous access, meters that are submerged in deep chambers, damaged or broken, and meters whose location is unknown. As a result, it is estimated that around 15% of water meters in this country are classed as long unread meters (LUM).

Without accurate, timely meter readings, it is simply impossible for water wholesalers and retailers to provide the requisite standard of service to customers. Indeed, Emma Kelso, Senior Director at Ofwat, said recently in a report of findings on water company billing inaccuracies: “Data quality is vital to a successful business retail market and the benefits that it can bring for customers. Water companies and retailers have legal obligations they must fulfil in ensuring the data they are responsible for is complete and accurate.”

She added: “The importance and value of data is growing, and company boards must have a strong focus on this when providing their assurances that they are able to effectively provide their regulated services.”

There is no escaping the fact that damaged or broken meters need to be repaired or replaced, and meters whose locations are unknown need to be found. Nevertheless, there are millions of water meters in the non-household and household sectors that could be retrofitted with ‘smart’ technology, making a vast difference to the quality of water wholesalers’ and retailers’ data.

Deer Technology’s quick and cost-effective solution to this problem is to retrofit analogue water meters with compact LimpetReader devices connected to AutoReader transmitters. The AutoReader currently communicates with the company’s secure servers using GSM or Wi-Fi technology with other communication protocols in the development pipeline.

A LimpetReader is bonded permanently to a meter’s faceplate and takes digital photographs of the register. The date- and time-stamped image files are processed on the server so as to convert them into meter readings. Once the LimpetReader is installed, which takes 15 minutes or less, there should be no need to revisit the meter. Furthermore, the LimpetReader continues to operate even if the meter becomes submerged in water or mud.

The system has been developed in the UK and benefits from patented technology. It features robust and reliable hardware, enabling water wholesalers and retailers to obtain accurate, timely meter readings for billing customers. There is no reliance on the meter’s pulsed output; instead, the system uses images of the register and is therefore akin to taking manual readings, but without the human error element and carbon footprint impact.

Whether the LimpetReader is bonded to the faceplate directly or via a clear adapter plate, the register remains visible in case it ever needs to be read manually. Thanks to the range of adapter plates available, LimpetReader are compatible with all types of analogue water meter encountered in the UK. Furthermore, there is no need to dismantle the meter or interrupt the supply when installing a LimpetReader.

Find out more about Deer Technology’s LimpetReader for remote meter reading at https://deertechnology.com, telephone 01639 363146 or email hello@deertechnology.com.

 

A quick and cost-effective way for water wholesalers and retailers to improve the quality of their data

NEWS FEATURES FIRE & SECURITY SUBMISSIONS RESOURCES