“All of a sudden, we’re a success story.”

Assens Water Utility

Partnering with Kamstrup on intelligent metering improves both customer service and customer experiences

Assens Municipality, in central Denmark, has around 4,000 water consumers. Ordinarily, the water utility plays only a minor part in consumers’ lives.

“The only time they ever think about their water supply is when they have to call in because something isn’t working. When brown water starts flowing out of the tap for instance, or a pipe bursts. Or when they get a water bill that’s unbelievably high,” says Anne Lyndorff Hovmøller, Civil Engineer and team leader for the water department of Assens Utilities.

Nowadays in Assens, the water utility is not mainly considered “a place to call and complain”. 

On the contrary, ever since Assens Water Utility decided to change to a smart metering solution in 2015, the utility has been increasingly known as the “ones who call consumers to tell them something’s wrong and needs to be checked” – before consumers discover it themselves.

This is a direct result of Assens Utility’s decision a few years ago to replace the area’s old water meters with new digital ones. 

A tender for the project was started in cooperation with Assens District Heating, and Kamstrup landed the contract. 

The cooperation has also included an implementation of remote reading of Assens’ water meters on an hourly basis, combined with data-driven analysis of the large volumes of meter data. 

Data is retrieved via a closed, encrypted radio system by Assens Water Utility via a large main antenna towering over the town on an old grain silo and in a chimney, combined with a number of small antennas set up locally and discretely at various locations throughout the municipality.

Anne Lyndorff Hovmøller explains that the physical structure of the distribution network in Assens made the decision a no-brainer. The system is divided into sections, making it possible to accurately measure both water intake and consumption in each individual district.

“We are currently measuring consumption throughout the system hour by hour, and Kamstrup supplied the software that is set up to generate an alarm whenever something out of the ordinary affects the consumption in the individual sections,” Anne Lyndorff says.

“We are currently measuring consumption throughout the system hour by hour, and Kamstrup supplied the software that is set up to emit an alarm whenever something out of the ordinary affects consumption in the individual sections,” Anne Lyndorff says.

Alarms improve customer service

“What usually happens is that we see a sudden spike in a household’s water consumption that just doesn’t add up. It might look like someone’s filling up a swimming pool, but it’s winter and not the best time to take a dip. Or maybe a house’s water consumption increases, even if we know it’s vacant and for sale because the residents have moved to a nursing home. Now, we can proactively handle these situations, saving consumers money and bother,” Anne Lyndorff Hovmøller says.

“Our ability to fully exploit the data by pinpointing the water loss that isn’t related to a problem in a household saves us money and makes our work easier at the same time.”

Anne Lyndorff Hovmøller, Assens Utility.

Better possibilities of finding leaks and reducing water loss

Teaming up with Kamstrup is also expected to result in the connection of the utility’s own meters that are located where water is pumped into the districts – to the data system, providing access to even more data and even more early warnings about irregularities in the distribution network.

“I particularly expect it to improve our ability to detect leaks. Burst pipes are one of the most difficult problems for us to identify. If a water pipe springs a leak next to a sewer line or rainwater conduit, we often never detect it because the water just flows off and doesn’t cause any erosion damage or similar.”

“Our ability to fully exploit the data by pinpointing water loss that isn’t due to a problem at the consumer's saves money for us and makes our work easier at the same time. It reduces the amount of time we spend walking around with headphones at 

2 am listening for dripping or splashing sounds,” Anne Lyndorff Hovmøller says.

As Denmark has a national regulation stipulating that economic sanctions will be imposed on the water utilities whose water loss exceed 10% a year. This has intensified the sector’s focus on not wasting drinking water.

Assens Water Utility’s water loss (6%) is far below this threshold. But Anne Lyndorff Hovmøller wants to do more and she sees teaming up with Kamstrup as important and valuable for achieving Assens Utilities’ strategic goal of providing a “better service than the consumers expect”.

“Having Kamstrup as a business partner has been very rewarding. We see how Kamstrup’s experts go all in and take our cooperation very seriously. The company invests many resources in it and zealously follows up on every detail.”

“Our ability to fully exploit the data by pinpointing a loss of water that isn’t due to a problem at the consumer's saves money for us and makes our work easier at the same time.”

Anne Lyndorff Hovmøller, Assens Utility.

Better than consumers expect

“What’s in it for Assens Utility to choose intelligent metering? Besides optimising our leakage localisation, the most valuable part is that we’ve gone from being a utility no one thought about – or only if something went wrong – to now being a ‘success story’. 

“We have become pretty cool– we’ve got some very satisfied consumers, because they see us as providers of good service, problem-solvers and those who prevent high unexpected water bills,” Anne Lyndorff Hovmøller says.

Assens Water Utility

The Solution:

  • MULTICAL® 21 and FlowIQ® 3100 water meters
  • Remote Reading via a READy network with two maxi-site antennas (chimney-mounted)
  • The analytics applications Water Intelligence and Incidents

Time frame:

The mobile meter-reading pilot project was carried out in 2013. The radio network was established in 2015–2016, concurrently with completion of an ongoing installation of water meters in the spring of 2016. Afterwards, Assens Utility partnered closely in developing and testing Kamstrup’s analytics applications Incidents and Water Intelligence. 

About Assens Water Utility:

  • Assens Water Utility
  • Roughly 3,800 metering points
  • Annual volume pumped out to consumers: approx. 700,000 m³
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