Wave calls for water industry to pay attention to ageing meters

Following the completion of an industry-first project, delving into the lifespan of Non-Household (NHH) water meters, national water retailer Wave is calling for the industry to pay closer attention to the issues surrounding ageing meters.

Wave works with UK businesses to manage their water and wastewater usage and is concerned by the potential volume of non-consuming water meters currently in operation.

The project established that the root cause of many non-consuming meters is that the meter has surpassed its operational age, making it increasingly likely to fail.

The findings were made during ‘Project No Flow’, a collaborative exercise between Wave and specialist data collection provider, Occutrace, investigating business water meters suspected of being non-consuming.

The data sample was made up of Supply Point IDs (SPIDs) with three or more meter reads showing no consumption, taken from a random sample of 2,000 SPIDs. This targeted meters which were in use but not recording any consumption, indicating potential issues with their functionality.

The investigation discovered that of the 771 meters identified as zero-consuming, 64% of these were found to be degraded to the extent of non-functionality. This finding has substantial implications for customers, Retailers and Wholesalers, with customers facing the potential repercussions of inaccurate billing, Retailers having to correct and revise the bills and Wholesalers seeing the impact inaccurate metering can have on the settlement process.

A key finding from the report was that many Wholesalers do not have proactive replacement programmes in place for NHH meters, something that Wave is eager to see change. By having meter replacement programmes in place and processes that help to identify zero consuming meters, any issues could be identified and resolved sooner, supporting Retailers in delivering reliable meter reads to customers.

This would be beneficial to all parties, and with accurate reads also comes the opportunity to identify any potential inefficiencies or cost savings for customers.

Claire Stanness, Metering Operations Manager at Wave and Project No Flow Lead, said:

“Project No Flow has sought to establish hard facts and real-world evidence about meters that are not recording consumption to help the market understand the volume of potential zero consuming meters out there. This first of its kind project has highlighted the issues that come with meters that are not recording consumption, issues that affect everyone.

“To solve this issue a highly collaborative approach is needed, from MOSL, Ofwat, Retailers, Wholesalers, and their service providers, all working together towards a common goal of accurate and timely meter reads, with the customer being at the forefront.”

Natalie Martin, Client Services Manager at Occutrace commented:

“The research has uncovered key insights into the initial lifespan of meters and how ageing meters begin to fail.

“Providing an important outcome that highlights malfunctioning meters not only impact customer satisfaction but also disrupt accurate billing wholesale settlement processes.

“The project has significantly enhanced the markets understanding of the lifespan of meters and how important accurate readings are in terms of understanding water usage patterns and forecasting demands.”

You can read the full project report here: https://www.wave-utilities.co.uk/advice-guidance/news/wave-join-mosls-user-forum-highlight-issues-non-consuming-water-meters

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