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What Is A Smart Water Meter?

No doubt you are familiar with smart meters for electricity and gas that are being installed at homes and businesses across the UK.

Now, smart water meters are also starting to gain attention. They measure the water flow from a business’ mains and automatically transmit consumption data to your water company or supplier.

This ensures your supplier receives data for the correct amount of water consumption and ensures accurate water bills.

These smart meters also allow for easier leak detection and encourage water saving.

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Why is There a Need for Smart Water Meters?

Natural resources are becoming scarcer and with the ever-increasing energy prices, it just makes sense that more businesses should start installing smart water meters.

Water availability is becoming a great concern for Britain. The UK extracts a lot of its fresh water from rivers, aquifers, and streams to supply residents with fresh drinking water.

A lot of this water, however, ends up lost due to leaks. Uncontrolled water leakages contribute to water scarcity while pushing up the water bills of households and businesses.

Smart meters are meant to address wasteful leakages and sky-high water bills.

They also allow you to monitor your water consumption: Knowing how much water a business consumes can help them become more conscious of their water consumption which can encourage them to save water.

How Do Smart Water Meters Work?

When you install a smart meter, it will be located next to your traditional water meter.

While a traditional water meter uses a built-in spinning mechanism, counting the volume of water you use per rotation, a smart meter “counts” the rotations and then automatically sends this information to your water company or water supplier.

These smart meter readings are sent every hour via a radio nodule using a specialised mobile phone network or wirelessly using a broadband network.

Your local water company receives this meter reading (your actual, accurate water usage) and passes it on to your water supplier, whereafter your water bill is calculated.

Business owners have access to this consumption data through an online portal. This portal also allows you to view your consumption analytics which can be handy when working towards identifying leaks and reducing consumption.

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When comparing a smart meter with a regular water meter, consider the following:

Smart water meters:

  • Requires a battery or electric source to work
  • Measures water consumption electronically
  • Readings are taken hourly
  • Does not require manual water readings as it automatically sends readings to suppliers
  • Readings are more accurate
  • Businesses receive more accurate water bills and can save money

Regular water meters:

  • Non-electric
  • Measures water consumption using its built-in spinning mechanism
  • Require manual water readings
  • Readings are taken, on average, every 6 months
  • Readings are estimated if water readers can’t access your premises
  • This can lead to inaccurate water readings and water bills

What are the Benefits of Using a Smart Water Meter?

Installing a smart meter at your business has three major benefits:

1. Helps with leak detection

Installing a smart meter enables your water company to detect water leaks: If your premises is closed for the evening but the meter shows a continuous flow of water, it means that there is a leak somewhere.

Leakages cost UK business many thousands of Pounds every year and quickly identifying a leak will help prevent unnecessary water losses and helps save the business money.

2. Ensures more accurate water bills

Water suppliers currently – if you only use a traditional water meter – take water readings at your business premises once every six months.

As with gas and electricity readings, suppliers make estimates using your historical usage. These estimates are not always accurate and a true reflection of your actual water usage, causing businesses to pay a lot more for their water consumption than what is due.

Having a smart meter installed ensures water suppliers get the correct consumption figures and that your business is billed correctly.

3. Reduces water usage and footprint

If you have a smart water meter installed you can actively monitor your day-to-day water consumption to analyse when and why water consumption increases or decreases.

Knowing what usage habits lead to a reduction in water consumption can encourage businesses to continually practise water-saving habits, which leads to a decrease in consumption.

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What Does a Smart Water Meter Look Like?

Smart meters have a circular, white face and an LCD screen which shows you how much water you consume.

These smart meters also need to attach to detection and transmission equipment, to allow the transmission of consumption data.

The new smart meter is installed next to your traditional meter at your mains connection or meter box, typically underneath the pavement outside your business.

Below, is a list of water companies that offer and install smart meters:

It’s advised that businesses contact their respective water providers to find out if smart meters are being rolled out and installed in their area.

Currently, the rollout of these meters is prioritised in areas where water is very scarce.

How Can My Business Get a Smart Water Meter?

If you are keen to install a smart meter, it’s advised you contact your local water company and find out if you can have one installed.

It will be supplied and fitted at no cost to you.

An installer will have to visit your business premises to do a site survey to see where your current water meter is located and where the smart water meter will be installed.

Your premise’s water supply may have to be turned off during the installation (for up to 30 minutes).

Your installer will contact you within three months after the installation to inform you if the meter has been activated and is operational.

Start your journey and compare business gas and electricity rates with Business Energy Comparison today. Use our price comparison tool and in less time than it takes to make a brew, we’ll compile your best prices from the UK’ s best suppliers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I install a smart water meter?

Much like in the rest of the world, the UK’s freshwater supplies are becoming more scarce. Estimates show that up to 20% of Britain’s fresh, drinkable water is lost to leakages daily. This contributes to water becoming more scarce. By installing a smart meter your business can identify and help reduce any leakages helping save water and reducing water demand.

Are smart water meters safe and secure?

Yes, the radio waves used by these water meters are safe and non-harmful and comply with the safety standards set by UK legislation and are in line with EU safety standards. Public Health England has also confirmed that these meters do not pose a risk to public health.

These meters are also designed to operate on their own dedicated, secure, wireless network. The system is designed to prevent any hacking or interception of information. Your details are not stored on the meter or shared with others and are only used to calculate your energy bill.

Do these meters need an electricity source?

These meters only transmit a small amount of data to your supplier hourly and only need a small amount of electricity to function. Your installer will insert a long-life battery into the device during installation which will last for up to 10 years.