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Smart water metering in the UK

London is classified as being ‘seriously water-stressed’ by the Environment Agency and many other parts of the UK run the risk of water insecurity. We use a third more water now than we did 30 years ago, and as the reliability of the water supply becomes a bigger problem in Britain and more globally, we will have to find other ways of moderating water consumption. Smart water metering systems could help ease some of the problems associated with water shortages. The British government plan to have a smart gas and electricity meter installed in every UK home by 2020. Perhaps we should consider a similar target for water meters too.

What is a smart water meter?

Smart meters perform two functions. First, they measure how much water a house or non-domestic site uses and second they communicate this information to the supplier and the premises owner. Part of the Internet of Things, smart water meters connect to a network and feedback customer usage information via an online platform. The smart meter argument says that this knowledge empowers customers to cut their usage and slim down their energy bills. The data relay to the water supplier also makes utilities fairer, because customers only pay for what they use. And because the supplier has a better overall view of the water network it makes it easier to pinpoint and repair damaged pipes if they spring a leak. As water get scarcer – more efficient distribution systems become crucial. Especially in water-strained locations like London.

How will a smart meter save me money?

There are a number of ways that smart water meter technology can save you money. First of all, you only pay for what you use with smart meters – so you can wave goodbye to estimated bills. Thames Water says that their metered customers use 12% less water on average than those still on estimated billing because they are empowered to cut their consumption. For more cost-sensitive businesses, this figure could be even higher. Smart water meters also make finding leaks easier – meaning less is lost through waste. Greater efficiency on behalf of the supplier should lead to lower overall utility prices. At least in theory. Recently we published a guide to using gas and electricity meters to reduce your business energy consumption. In this guide we discussed a number of strategies to help identify areas of waste and cut consumption for businesses. Many of the lessons contained in this guide will also be applicable to cutting water usage in your business. When business water services become deregulated, Utility Helpline will begin offering cheaper water rates as part of our portfolio. Keep up to date on the latest here on our blog.

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