What do you get when you combine mobile reading and garbage trucks?

Langeland Water Supply saves time by combining mobile reading and the existing infrastructure to efficiently read meters across great distances.

Langeland Water Supply’s inventive combination of the remote reading system READy and the island's garbage trucks means that the trucks read about 80 % of the meters automatically. This has resulted in significant time savings and new opportunities for optimisation of both operations and customer service.
 
Efficient mobile meter reading
The island of Langeland has a total area of 284 km2. Directly translated the name Langeland means “Longland”, so as the name suggests the island is a long strip of land – 52 km long and up to 11 km wide. The shape of the island is what made meter reading with a handheld terminal a time-consuming task for Operations Manager, Henning Bøgh Christiansen. 
 
The company's 7,400 metering points are spread out all over the island – from Northern Langeland and the center of the island down to the southern tip. Previously, all of the meters were read with only one handheld terminal.
In 2014, Henning Bøgh Christiansen contacted Kamstrup with the intention of buying two new handheld terminals, so that meter reading could be performed by more people. They instead suggested the remote reading system READy, which, together with a converter, would be an easier and less expensive option. Also, this solution would enable more frequent readings and thus more precise data for operations optimisation.
 
Also responsible for the island’s waste collection, Langeland Water Supply came up with the idea to collect meter data using garbage trucks, in combination with the existing infrastructure. 
 
Today, the trucks read more than 80 % of the meters while the supply company employees drive around to collect the rest. Part of the reason why just under 20 % are not read is that some consumers collect their garbage in small groups which means that the trucks do not get close to all the houses.

“We thought to ourselves: all the meter readings that can be picked up by the garbage trucks, are readings that we do not have to go out and collect."

Henning Bøgh Christiansen, Operations Manager.

Simple start-up and low operating costs with READy

The genius of the garbage truck solution is its simplicity. In READy, Henning Bøgh Christiansen sets up specific groupings based on the waste collection routes, and the island's four garbage trucks then get a tablet or smartphone as well as a converter. The trucks drive around in pairs for one week at a time collecting waste while they simultaneously – and with no extra effort – read the water meters.

 
READy does not require any large investments and getting started is both quick and easy. As the remote reading is done automatically, it is not necessary to train the drivers on how to collect the data. The garbage trucks simply go about their normal routine, all the while the technology on board is reading all the meters it can along the way.
 

Every two months, the supply company then reads the remaining meters so that they have a complete reading of all their meters. Previously, meter reading was done just once a year. 

More data means operational optimisation, less water loss and better customer service

The combination of READy mobile reading and garbage trucks to efficiently cover great distances has saved time, led to improved customer service and optimised operations as a result of more data. 
 
"We could see that this solution would save us a lot of time and allow us to get more readings to use for operational optimisation. Also, we would be able to provide better service to customers by, for example, detecting water loss much faster," says Henning Bøgh Christiansen.
 

Langeland Water Supply has approximately 10 areas with district meters. In connection with the bi-monthly complete reading, Henning Bøgh Christiansen also reads the district meters and compares the figures. This enables him to see if he lets more water into the area than he sells – indicating that water is lost. 

 
The district meters and the increased amount of data makes it easier to detect water loss, which means the company can quickly address leaks.
Many customers have already expressed their appreciation of having been informed about leaks, excessive consumption and the like, he adds.
 
Quick detection of leaks
In the summer of 2015, the company experienced just how district metering results in highly efficient leak detection. Two Mondays in a row, the company first read the district meter and then all the water meters in a specific area. A comparison of the readings revealed that approx. 350 cubic meters of water had been lost during this period of time.
 
"Kamstrup’s meters enable me to get started earlier. Had I not been able to compare my readings to the district meter, I would not have caught the leak. And even if I had caught it, the work involved in finding it would have taken much longer. We found this leak in a week – previously it might have taken several months," explains Henning Bøgh Christiansen.
 
Some of the houses on Langeland are holiday cottages that are unoccupied for long periods at a time.
According to Henning Bøgh Christiansen, these unoccupied cottages are another challenge remote reading has helped to solve. The supply company saves a lot of time, as they no longer need to send out and push for meter reading cards: "We get all the data delivered. That means huge savings for us. Both in terms of effort and time."
 
"We try, of course, to make meter reading as easy as possible."

While the garbage trucks read the majority of the meter pool, Henning Bøgh Christiansen continuously works on optimising the drive-by solution with respect to the supply company’s specific conditions. This involves making small adjustments and trying out different things – often in cooperation with Kamstrup – to find out exactly what works. 

 
The goal is for all the meters to be read automatically so that meter reading is as easy as possible. "Together we find the best solution – after all, we know what works in our daily tasks, while Kamstrup are the experts in their product," explains Henning Bøgh Christiansen.
About the customer:
Langeland Water Supply
Metering points: 7,400
 
About the solution:
MULTICAL 21
READy mobile reading
District meters
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