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“It's all about making the consumption visible”

Control the water flow

Detailed information on water consumption catches leaks at an early stage

The water company in Strib (Denmark), a town with ca. 5,000 inhabitants and 1,700 water connections, conserves precious tap water by installing electronic water meters and a stationary remote meter reading system.

“We don’t have unlimited tap water resources. Therefore it is absolutely crucial to keep a constant focus on consumption and help our customers to regulate their consumption of their own free will.” Chairman Anton Petersen, Strib Water Company

History proves him right: In 1986 water meters were for the first time installed in Strib. The town consumed then 390,000m3 of water. Two years later the amount had dropped by 30 % to 270,000m3!

Now Strib takes water metering to a higher level in order to optimize its meter reading processes with the aim of conserving water and providing its customers with better service.

Consumption data from the water meters are being transmitted directly into the water company’s computer without any human interaction. From this central place the operations manager gets daily updates from the water grid and monitors all metering points. He can even export consumption data directly into his billing system without adding additional customer information.

But most importantly, the remote meter reading system will give the water company access to detailed information on water consumption and thus catch leaks and other irregularities at an early stage.

Monthly readings are taken from all water meters, and the consumption data are made available for the consumers on the water company’s website.

“The aim is twofold,” says the chairman. “We must both empower our customers to take informed action, when there is a potential to save water; and we as a water supplier must have control of where the water flows in the system.”

“We must both empower our customers to take informed action, when there is a potential to save water; and we as a water supplier must have control of where the water flows in the system.”

Chairman Anton Petersen, Strib Water Company

Settling disputes

Accurate data based on the actual consumption ensures better customer service

Monitoring the water consumption for the sake of optimizing both service and grid performance was a decisive factor for Strib water company’s choice of a stationary meter reading solution. Anton Petersen reports of an annual meter reading that once revealed an over-consumption of more than 1,000m3. The case was taken to court, which was very stressful for both the water company and for the customer.

“We must prevent such cases from occurring by means of frequent meter readings and instant leak alerts.”

Monthly meter readings secure accurate data for billing based on actual consumption (instead of estimated

consumption). But more importantly, the water company can monitor the water supply on a daily basis due to real time information from the water meters.

Daily monitoring is a powerful tool for fault finding and trouble shooting, providing a solid foundation of data for optimizing the grid performance.

The first motivation to initiate an exchange of water meters was a need for remotely read water meters in meter pits. It was a huge challenge to get consumption figures from meters installed in pits, and often in winter the cover could be frozen.

Therefore the water company even offers its customers a water display that communicates with the water meter. The display can be placed inside and enables the consumer to follow his consumption in real time. The display is being used by the harbour master, who can now take immediate action in case of a leak alert – an extremely useful tool for a consumer that has to manage a lot of users, who are maybe not feeling the same responsibility as if they were at home. A leak alert can be caused by anything from a dripping tap to a burst pipe.

Better service, less expenses

“The consumers are not going to experience any price increase, only better service. Our customers will have no more trouble with meter reading, and we will save a lot of expenses and administrative work caused by manual meter reading. And given the current price on tap water, conserving water is definitely also beneficial for the private economies."

Chairman Anton Petersen, Strib Water Company

Plug and play solution

For automatic meter reading via Radio Link Network

The Automatic Meter Reading solution - Radio Link Network - is a wireless infrastructure, which is capable of collecting data from all kinds of consumption meters (water, heat, cooling and electricity) using the open radio protocol Wireless M-Bus.

The Radio Link solution was chosen as a simple plug and play system for automatic meter reading, requiring only few components and a minimum of configuration.

The data management system allows the water company to cut out consumer profiles for analysis and compare the consumption of individual households.

Radio Link is a popular solution in urban areas with a high density of consumers and in remote areas like islands with difficult accessibility.

The water meters are using the ultrasonic measuring principle with high accuracy. A data logger stores all consumption information, and the electronic meters are pre-programmed to issue alerts in case of abnormal consumption patterns. Although electronic, the water meters are dirt resistant and endure flooding without any decrease in performance.

Strib Water Company, Denmark

Solution:

  • 1,700 smart water meters: Kamstrup, MULTICAL 21, electronic water meter with ultrasonic measuring principle.
  • Automatic Meter Reading via RadioLink – Wireless communication infrastructure, plug and play-system using Wireless M-Bus open radio protocol.
  • Water display: Water Ensemble from GEO, communicates wirelessly with the Kamstrup water meter.

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