Smart meters, sometimes called 'digital meters' are devices that automatically record water use, then electronically report that information at regular intervals. This provides data that can show peak usage and other information that can be used to the benefit of customers and the water business. Unusual water usage alerts can be automatically generated to the property owner, to identify early water leaks or concealed leaks, helping to prevent property damage. The data generated by smart water meters can also aid property owners in managing their water consumption. Council installed approximately 1200 smart water meters across the region in the areas of Bundaberg CBD, Burnett Heads, Childers and Gin Gin to trial this cutting edge technology and explore the benefits of digital meters.
The two-year scoping trial monitored the effectiveness of two types of digital meters, their communication networks and an interactive dashboard for staff and customers. The pilot was concluded in August 2020 noting that digital meters were able to flag early water leakages for customers but there were significant delays in providing up to date customer information. Council is reviewing its systems and exploring options for improved, confidential access to current Customer data, by the Customer.