Smart water meters

Smart water meter FAQs

Why are we doing this?

Council currently utilises an aging fleet of mechanical water meters which relies on manual readers to capture consumption data. This approach is manually intensive and relatively inefficient. As the mechanical meters are due for replacement, this is an opportunity to consider digital technology to automate meter reading. Smart metering systems have the potential to revolutionise current water service operations. The change to automated meter reading will streamline the meter reading process and offer opportunities for system improvements to create efficiencies and cost savings. A smart meter solution can stream large volumes of time stamped water usage including water temperature, pressure and other useful metrics to assist Council in the management of the water network and guide planning decisions for upgrades to the water network. The communication networks typically deployed for smart metering solutions can be leveraged further for other uses outside the water network such as smart lighting, public bin collection and maybe even extended to metering farm irrigation.

 

Who is paying for the new smart meters, communication network and ongoing costs?

The cost of deploying Smart meters will be funded by Council’s water meter replacement program.

 

What's wrong with the old meters?

More than one quarter of the meter fleet needs immediate replacement, or is overdue for replacement. Council wishes to explore innovative solutions to deliver improved services. Deploying integrated smart water metering across our water networks, is one innovative solution to be trialed as part of a whole business approach to Smart City Technology.

 

Why is Council spending so much on a trial?

The cost to undertake this trial is around $350,000 more than we would normally spend each year on replacing aged meters so this trial is very affordable. It is important for Council to monitor the effectiveness of smart meters on both residential and commercial properties in various locations across the region before investing further funds in deploying smart meters across the region. A critical test for this trial will be the communication network. To achieve the best results from smart meters, we need to ensure there will be no network problems with transmitting data.

 

Why isn't the trial being conducted in my area? Why were the four areas chosen?

The selection of trial areas across the region was based on the age of meters, cross section of different meter sizes and also to test the communication network capability in each area. The trial will identify the best available technology to suit our region, and drive integrated, innovative solutions to enhance customer service.

 

Is it compulsory to be involved? If my property is identified, can I opt out?

If your property has been selected in a pilot area, then all meters within that area will either be replaced with a smart meter or have a transmitter installed (depending on the condition and age of the existing meter).

 

Will my water bill increase?

The current fleet of mechanical meters is aged and may not be reading accurately. The mechanical meters can slow down with age, thereby recording a reduced rate of water consumption. During the Pilot, manual reading of meters will be undertaken to verify the transmitted water consumption data. If your water bill does increase, the consumption can be checked against the manual reading.

 

When can we expect a decision on the roll out of smart meters?

The smart water meters will be trialed for at least one complete billing cycle or until such time that Council can confidently make a decision on whether to deploy smart water meters across the region. Council will be trialing a few different types of meters to assess the accuracy and reliability of each communication network before deploying smart water meters across the region.

 

When will I receive a new smart meter?

Owners and residents of properties identified for the trial, can expect a smart water meter or transmitter to be installed during the months of July – September 2018. This timeframe is a guide only, until contracts are awarded. Please refer to the timeline on Council’s website for the latest information on installation of smart water meters.

 

How can I trust the accuracy of the digital reading?

During the trial, Council will continue its current practice of manually reading meters so the water consumption data transmitted by the smart meters can be verified.

 

What happens if I dispute the readings and/or water charges?

Please contact the Revenue Department of Council to verify your automated water reading against the manual meter reading.

 

Will smart meters interfere with my TV reception?

TV reception will not be affected – Smart water meters use a wireless signal which is often encrypted to transmit data in a different spectrum to your TV signal.

 

Will the radio waves from a smart meter cause me any health issues?

Smart water meter communications use low power wide area networks (LPWAN) and do not transmit continuously – they are not considered a health hazard.

 

Is this big brother?

The transmission of water consumption data is made available for the benefit of property owners and for the purpose of automating meter reads. The analysis of this data can help Council identify efficiencies in the water network and inform decision making for upgrades to the water infrastructure. Smart meters are not intended to govern customer’s water usage but give customers a tool to self-manage their own consumption to conserve water and save money. Owners can only view the water consumption on their own property via the online customer portal.

 

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