To minimize apparent water loss, there are several solutions available that enhance metering performance and improve administrative resources. Water utilities can quickly generate significant costs savings with a focus on three key areas:
Improve water meter accuracy
Traditionally, tracking meter performance is a process that has been manual in nature. As components succumb to wear and tear over time it may lead to performance issues when the meter stops recording every data point on consumption. Detecting these errors is labor-intensive; however, new analytics tools can help. What’s more, replacing or recalibrating older meters could help improve accuracy by 85 to nearly 100 percent. Installing new meters could help jumpstart the revenue curve and potentially save millions of dollars. Typically, the fastest payback for a utility is to focus on the commercial and industrial meters as they can represent as much as 35 to 65 percent of the consumption, but only 5 to 10 percent of the meter population.
Reduce billing errors
Billing records can get lost when completed manually or lead to issues with units of measure if systems weren’t installed correctly. For instance, a utility might record data in cubic feet, but bill in gallons – meaning customers aren’t paying as much as they should be for their water. Utilities can streamline the process to cut operating costs and errors by leveraging an automated billing system coupled with an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) platform.
Reduce unauthorized use
Alarms can help utilities circumvent registration of meters and restrict access from unauthorized personnel. Smart alarms with tamper alerts and hydrant-monitoring systems help utilities detect attempted theft and drive additional revenue from accounts. Most modern metering systems incorporate some type of alarm feature, so a meter upgrade can help a utility enhance protection by deploying smart meters with tamper detection.
Utilities may want to consider taking a sequential approach when evaluating and deploying the solutions for apparent water loss. A good place for a utility to start is by improving meter accuracy.
Once the utility has saved money based on its improved accuracy, it can invest the cost savings to reduce billing errors. Each sequential step can be financed by the previous one.