Council Moving to Smart Metering
Council resolved at the February 2019 Ordinary Meeting of Council to proceed with the implementation of Smart Metering across the water network. Council has now entered into a contract with Taggle Systems Pty Ltd and will be rolling the program out in the coming months.
Over a number of years Council has been undertaking works in accordance with recommendations contained within the Water Loss Management Plan. The Water Loss Management Plan identified that at the time, Council was losing approximately 36% of the water after it was treated or purchased from WaterNSW. Council has implemented and undertaken a number of actions from the Plan which has resulted in some improvement, yet at the end of the 2017/18 financial year Council’s losses were still at 30% or in dollar terms, over a million dollars of lost revenue.
One of the recommendations of the Water Loss Management Plan was to develop a meter replacement policy which included reviewing the current meters installed. The analysis of the meter fleet indicates that more than 50% of the meters currently installed exceed 20 years with only a slight reduction in this percentage at 25 years. What this indicates is that nearly half of the meters currently installed are the original meters that were installed when metering was first undertaken in the 1990’s.
Industry practice determines that the useful life of a mechanical water meter, which is your common household water meter, is 10 years, with some manufacturers claiming 20 years useful life. After a period of 8 years use, the meter will begin to incorrectly measure the amount of water passing through. When meters begin to fail, in all but exceptional cases, the meter under registers.
To address this major issue as well as providing additional benefits, Council has resolved to undertake a meter replacement program with an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system or more commonly known, Smart Metering. The benefits that can be achieved include but are not limited to:
- The ability for customers and Council to identify leaks early within private properties;
- Automatic monitoring with alarms that can detect if changes occur within the system that require attention, e.g. leaks, freezing, no water, meter tampering;
- Customers may monitor their own usage through an online portal should they choose to sign up;
- Avoidance of bill shock with near real-time data on consumption and excess use alarms;
- Extend the lifespan of the network through optimised operations and proactive maintenance
Mayor Thompson provides “this is one of many actions Council is undertaking to better manage our water infrastructure to ensure long term sustainable outcomes. Being able to better account for our water means that we have been able to maintain the current cost of water rates for the next financial year”.
Other councils who have implemented Smart Metering report that they have been able to identify customer leaks within the first weeks of the meters being installed, not only saving water but reducing the cost to residents.
Director of Water and Wastewater, Daniel Buckens says “once your new meter is installed Council will receive an alarm from the system to notify staff of a possible leak. When these are received Council will issue the resident a Leak Notice to inform the resident of possible leak. Once the system is fully operational residents will be able to register to the MiWater portal and see in near real time their own water consumption, configure their own alarms so that they will get notification directly via SMS or email”.
Frequently Asked Questions and Fact Sheets about the meter replacement project and Smart Metering are available on Council’s website, at the Administration Building at 180 Mort Street, Lithgow and will be provided with upcoming water bill. For general enquires about the project or Smart Metering please call Council’s Water and Wastewater Department on 63549999