As the water industry aims to enhance conservation efforts, build resilience and usher in a smarter future for the UK’s water supply, the pivotal role of smart water meters cannot be overstated. In this blog, we explore the imperative for the water sector to learn from the energy industry’s successes in the smart meter rollout, emphasising the need for better designs in installation efforts and strategic investments to achieve long-term goals.

Increasing the rollout of smart water meters across the UK is going to enable better opportunities for water conservation, resilience and the delivery of a smarter future for the UK’s water supply. Access to timely, accurate water meter data makes tackling inefficient water usage and leaks so much easier and much faster. Afterall, you can’t begin to reduce consumption if you can’t measure it properly in the first place. Meter availability will be critical in AMP8 when the industry will jump from around 2.5 million smart installs in five years, to 2.5 million smart meter installs per year. We look at what the water industry can learn from the energy sector’s rollout of smart meters. 

Why ramping up smart meter installation is key

Conservation goals and challenges:

The water industry faces ambitious conservation targets, yet current efforts are falling short. With a need to reduce water consumption by 20%, current Water Resource Management Plans only achieve a 17% reduction. Addressing this shortfall requires innovative solutions, and smart meters provide a crucial tool for accurate measurement and targeted interventions that motivate customers to help deliver and sustain the change.

Drought resilience:

Enhancing drought resilience is a key priority and smart meters play a vital role in achieving water savings. As the risk of water shortages looms, the timely data provided by smart meters becomes indispensable in effective water resource management as this enables prompt alerts and despatch of effective solutions to customers

Leakage reduction:

A significant challenge for the water industry is leakage caused by lack of investment in ageing infrastructure. In 2021 alone, England and Wales lost a staggering trillion litres of water due to leaky pipes.1 The commitment to a 50% reduction in leakage by 2050 necessitates urgent action, making smart meters a valuable asset in identifying and mitigating these losses.

You can read more about this in our blog ‘Empowering the water industry’s smart meter rollout’.  

Learning from the energy sector

In a recent article published by Baringa, the international consulting firm highlighted that the water industry can learn a lot from the energy sector’s rollout of smart meters. And we agree entirely. 

Key Takeaways:

Investment in data-led capabilities:

To harness the full potential of smart meters, water companies must invest in building new data-led capabilities. This includes a transformative approach to customer experience, network maintenance, and water resource management.

Bundled service procurement:

Baringa advocates for a bundled service approach, encompassing metering and communication assets, network infrastructure, meter installation, and ongoing maintenance. This holistic strategy ensures a seamless and efficient smart meter rollout.

Urgent action:

Time is of the essence. Baringa calls on water companies to act promptly, securing contracts, pre-ordering meters, and recruiting and training the workforce. Urgent action is essential to meet the ambitious installation targets set for 2025. In the article, Will Lewis, the firm’s expert in water commented “Only if urgent action takes place in the near future will water firms be able to deliver the volume of installations they have planned for 2025.”

How we can help

Together with our parent company, Calisen, we pack a powerful punch that water companies can capitalise on. Calisen brings 20+ years of in the provision of financing options that enable fast smart meter deployment without financial burden on the water company, as well as essential installation and maintenance services. It currently owns circa 40% of the UK’s smart energy meters in the UK and is now offering its end-to-end solutions to water suppliers. 

Our customer engagement and behavioural change programmes that capitalise on over 10 years of experience in the water industry, alongside Calisen’s metering installation, maintenance and financing solutions combine to create an integral package of solutions that water suppliers need in order to increase their smart meter rollout, reduce consumption and deliver a smarter future for the UK’s water supply.

Discover how our customer engagement programmes harness the power of behavioural science to help your customers to better understand their usage and motivate them to make changes – whether that’s to reduce their consumption or accept a smart meter, in our blog ‘Delivering a smarter future for the UK’s water supply’.

The lessons learned from the energy sector underscore the importance of not only increasing installation efforts but also investing in robust, data-led capabilities. We echo the call from Baringa to adopt a bundled service approach and can facilitate this journey through our collaboration with Calisen which offers a unique, end-to-end solution that combines financing options, installation expertise and customer engagement programs.

Decisive action today will pave the way for tangible benefits tomorrow. Let us embark on this journey together, driving water conservation, reducing leaks, and delivering a smarter, more sustainable water supply for the UK. Contact us now to explore how our integrated solutions can propel your smart meter rollout and contribute to the transformation of the water industry. Together, we can make a lasting impact on water management and secure a brighter future for generations to come.

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