Water utilities lose significant revenue and water due to meter-related issues. Smart water technologies can help solve these problems and improve customer service. Learn how Nashville saves $181,000 per month in meter reading, and how London’s smart network led to a 13% reduction in water consumption.

Water managers today face increasing challenges with growing populations, limited resources and aging infrastructure. This can lead to a number of problems for water utilities, including water scarcity, undetected leaks, and inaccurate billing. 

Smart water technologies provide a way to automatically improve meter reading and reduce manual work, while ensuring accurate billing and better customer service. Smart meter reading can also help utilities more quickly address real and apparent water losses.

Xylem’s smart water technologies for metering and billing

Xylem’s Sensus brand combines smart water meters, advanced sensors and software analytics with its long-range radio communication network, FlexNet. This advanced metering infrastructure enables utilities to actively monitor and dynamically optimize their water systems to better serve their communities.

Automatic meter reading solutions from Sensus collect water consumption, diagnostic and status data from devices, and then transfer that data to a central database for billing and analysis. Automated meter reading and billing can cut operating costs dramatically.

Xylem’s Valor Water Analytics brand helps water utilities use their data to increase revenue, operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction. Through algorithms and data analysis, its Hidden Revenue Locator uses meter data to locate apparent losses in water systems. Its Cutoff Analyzer identifies and classifies non-paying customers according to their previous behavior, then proposes targeted interventions to decrease both cutoffs and delinquent accounts.

Case: Thames Water, London

Smart network reduces water consumption by 13%

Challenge: Thames Water is the largest water and wastewater services provider in the UK, serving 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley. As London and the South East of England are severely water-stressed areas, the utility wanted to prevent a predicted shortfall in water supply by investing in smart water technologies that improve operations.

Solution and results: A smart water metering network was installed, developed in part by Sensus. The solution delivers accurate daily data reads from across the entire network. This enables customers to better understand their water consumption via an online usage report, which led to customers using 13% less water. The network ensures accurate billing for each customer, since they only pay for what they use. The utility can also quickly identify leaks or pipe ruptures.

Case: The Clayton County Water Authority, Georgia

Identifying more than $1 million in annual lost revenue

Challenge: The Clayton County Water Authority serves over 76,000 customers. The utility serves an area with limited surface and groundwater, as well as many customers located in distressed communities, resulting in a large number of “turn offs” each month. Additionally, the authority has a significant volume of apparent water loss, resulting in lost revenue, customer and community relations issues, and employee frustration.

Solution and results: The authority turned to Xylem for help. Xylem implemented two data analytic tools: the Hidden Revenue Locator and the Cutoff Analyzer. These two solutions identified more than $1 million in annual lost revenue through meter issues, billing errors, tampering and leaks. This enables the utility to identify problems, respond proactively and recover revenue.

Case: Nashville Metro Water Services, Tennessee

Remote meter reading saves $181,000 per month

Challenge: Nashville Metro Water Services serves more than 191,000 customers. The utility’s technicians had to manually read meters, a time-consuming process that often involved remote areas, hazardous road conditions, poison ivy and bug bites. Since the utility only collected meter reads once a month, it relied on customers to report unusually high water bills before investigating the source of a leak or a billing inaccuracy.

Solution and results: A Sensus customer since the early 1950s, the utility decided to deploy SR II water meters and the FlexNet communication network. With this Sensus technology, the utility now collects meter data remotely. This has reduced the cost per meter read by 95 cents, saving $181,000 per month. At the same time, the utility has improved working conditions for technicians, and can detect leaks before a customer’s bill soars.