No more leaks? Smart metres to be deployed for water network, but only if you live Suffolk
Anglian Water has chosen communications infrastructure provider Arqiva to help it install and operate 7,500 new smart water meters for the market town of Newmarket in Suffolk.
The four year deal also involves Sensus who will provide the smart meter units. Arqiva’s two-way network infrastructure will be used to transmit the data.
Anglian Water is currently trailing the smart metre technology and selected Newmarket as the site for its so called ‘Innovation Shop Window’, where it can test and showcase its latest innovation projects.
The idea behind the installation of these smart metres (for both residential and commercial properties) is to improve customer satisfaction, ensure zero water bursts or leaks, and reduce water consumption to 80 litres per head, per day.
To help in this regard Arqiva’s network will deliver hourly usage readings back to Anglian Water so it can better understand customer water consumption and quickly identify unusual usage patterns that may indicate bursts or leaks.
The thinking is that by being more proactive, it will allow Anglian Water’s repair teams to more quickly fix any water leaks. If the water pipe concerned happens to be on a customer’s property, the utility provider can inform them they have a leak so they can get it repaired.
As part of the trial, Anglian Water will also be able to remotely reconfigure meters to deliver more frequent meter readings (i.e. every 15 minutes) for even more accurate identification of leaks. Customers taking part in the trial will also be provided with online access to their water consumption data. They will also be given advice on how to minimise their water consumption.
“Long-term access to secure supplies of water is one of the most pressing environmental and economic challenges the world faces today, and that challenge is particularly acute in the east of England, which is the driest region in the UK,” explained Paul Glass, Anglian Water’s Programme Manager for the smart metering initiative.
“Getting to grips with it is not something that can wait until tomorrow,” said Glass. “Smart metering has a key role to play in giving our customers access to information about their water use – helping them to understand how much water they are using, and therefore how to reduce their consumption and bills.”
It will take six months to built the network, which means it should be finished by December this year.
“Arqiva is committed to working with water companies to help them use smart metering to tackle the challenge of water scarcity,” said Sean Weir, Director Smart M2M at Arqiva. “Accurate monitoring enables consumers to better understand their usage and helps the water companies pinpoint and act quickly on leakages.
“We pride ourselves on the delivery of robust, reliable and comprehensive network solutions that aid this process, and are delighted that Anglian Water has recognised our reputation in this area by choosing us to support the progression of its smart metering programme.”
Smart meters are due to be installed as standard across Britain by 2020, following a government drive to encourage greater energy efficiency by replacing existing gas and electricity meters.
The Anglian Water project is one of the first to involve smart metres with the UK’s water network. But supporters argue the technology can really achieve cost savings for both the customer and the supplier.
Meanwhile it is busy time for Arqiva. In May it said it would build a wireless network dedicated to supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) across the UK. It claimed it would promote M2M adoption by reducing the cost and energy use of connecting devices.
It has also been named the preferred bidder by the government to provide smart meters for the north of the UK as part of a wider £12.1 billion nationwide project, and claims its network will connect more than ten million homes.
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