Thames Water has installed the first ‘smart’ water meters in Bexley, southeast London, enabling residents to monitor their usage online.
Currently around 30% of its customers are on meters. By 2030 the company aims to have metered 100% of connections in its region.
The new technology gives customers more control over their water use, and it is hoped it will encourage the firm’s 3.5 million households to be more water-efficient in a region – London and the Homes Counties – described by the Environment Agency as “seriously water-stressed.”Research has found that metered customers use water more sparingly than unmeasured customers: people pay for what they use, value what they pay for and so tend to use less.
The new meters being installed can automatically collect water usage data every 15 minutes, giving customers in-depth information on how much water they use, as well as more accurate bills.They will also give Thames Water a more detailed understanding of where water is being used, and in what quantities, across its 20,000-mile network of water mains, enhancing its ability to pinpoint and tackle leakage.
Leaks on customers’ pipes account for a quarter of leakage in the company’s supply area. So the meter installation will include an initial check for leaks. Meter readings will also be monitored automatically to detect any periods of continual usage (which often indicates a leak). Any leaks detected by these methods, or by customers themselves, will be repaired free of charge.
Steve Plumb, Thames Water’s head of metering, said: “We all have a vital role to play in reducing demand for water, but first everyone needs to understand what they are using. That’s why we’re fitting smart meters across our region as by knowing more we can all waste less.
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