A fixed network meter reading solution from Kamstrup provides multiple advantages for Västervik municipality, which supplies water to a large and hilly area. Remote meter reading in hilly terrain has so far resulted in improved efficiency, accurate billing, and reduced water loss.

Västervik municipality covers a very large surface area which makes manual reading of water meters very time-consuming. Especially challenging are hilly terrains such as those in the community of Ankarsrum.
 
Remote meter reading in hilly terrain presents clear advantages, and so the municipality decided to switch to remotely read meters in order to save both money and resources by not having to go out and read the meters manually. Remote reading would also enable automated billing and make it easier to detect leaks and other irregularities.
 
System performance exceeds expectations

Examples of utilities in Sweden that have installed remotely read water meters were limited. However, Business Area Manager at Västervik Environment & Energy Ltd. Ruben Öberg, had previous experiences with remote reading in the district heating sector, and so he suggested a complete remote reading system.

“Kamstrup had the total solution we wanted and they had made the most progress in the development of the technology”, explains Ruben Öberg.

After a successful pilot project with Kamstrup’s drive-by solution, implementation of a fixed network meter reading solution began in Ankarsrum.
 
Roll out of the remote reading system in this hilly area was recently completed and so far, it is performing even better than expected. For example, only two concentrators have been required as opposed to the initially expected four.
 
“We are very pleased with the end result. We are also very pleased with how Kamstrup has supported us in the progress of the project,” says Ruben Öberg.

“Kamstrup had the total solution we wanted and they had made the most progress in the development of the technology.” 

Ruben Öberg,  Business Area Manager at Västervik Environment & Energy Ltd.

Improved efficiency and reduced costs from network reading

In addition to the savings derived from switching to remotely read meters, Västervik Environment & Energy have experienced a number of other advantages from their new remote reading system. 
 
Customers were previously billed based on an estimation of their consumption which often resulted in errors in the financial results. Today, Västervik Environment & Energy get a precise monthly reading allowing them to follow the sales budget more accurately.
 
And in the event of customer disputes over bills, they are now able to document to the individual customer their precise hourly water consumption.
Due to the size of Västervik municipality, the tasks performed by the environment and energy department are both numerous and diverse.

The fact that their engineers can now spend their time and efforts on other and more complex tasks than reading meters has increased the department’s overall efficiency noticeably. “We see that we work more effectively because our engineers can carry out more advanced tasks,” says Ruben Öberg.

 
Finally, fixed network meter reading allows Västervik Environment & Energy to use the new meters to search for leaks, which used to be very time-consuming. On several occasions, uncovering leaks has either prevented or limited water damage and thus saved the customer in question an additional bill.
 

This translates into a level of customer service that the department was previously unable to provide. In the future, they see great opportunities in expanding their offering further to include services such as leak surveillance and leak alarms.

Continued expansion of remote reading system
The ultimate goal for Västervik municipality’s remote reading project is to have a complete system that includes each and every one of their meters. 
 
The experience gained from the Ankarsrum project and the fact that Västervik Environment & Energy now have a fully established radio network reading system, means that the expansion of remotely read water meter systems in the rest of the municipality continues with great confidence and high expectations.
 
“7 to 8 years from now, we want for 100% of our meters to be read a minimum of once a month and deliver data straight into our billing system,” says Ruben Öberg.
Solution:
500 MULTICAL 21 water meters
READy network reading
NetBuild (Kamstrup’s concept for guiding utilities in the establishment of their own radio network)
Additionally, the customer has approx. 300 MULTICAL 21 and flowIQ on drive-by in the same system
 
Time frame: System roll out in Ankarsrum was completed in 2015. Expansion to the rest of Västervik municipality continues.
 
Customer:

Västervik Environment & Energy Ltd.
8,961 metering points
Supplies water to approx. 30,600 people
Delivers approx. 2.2 million m3 of drinking water per year

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