District heating
Meter reading

Time saving of more than 80% on meter readings

Time saving investment

Wireless reading of heat meters results in 80% time savings

Thanks to the wireless reading of meters, an otherwise very tedious job is now completed in just a few days - and with much greater precision than was previously the case. 99.9% of the meters are read wirelessly with no difficulty.

The utility company's field workers read all meters directly using small USB meter readers and netbooks. The switch from manual to automatic meter reading has brought with it significant benefits.

Meter reading on fixed dates

In particular, the district heating supplier is now able to read the meters wirelessly on fixed dates.

This means that, irrespective of whether the heat meters were read in mid-January or in February, the reading from 1 January can be accurately entered into the billing system thanks to the internal data memory, thereby enabling an accurate bill to be generated for the past year.

Fixed date data means accurate annual statistics can be prepared with completely comparable consumption data.

Optimum reading structure

The company has registered significant time savings, as the annual reading cycle is now completed in five days. This is a time saving of more than 80%!

"For my employees, it means time savings and that they now have a more varied and more responsible job because they build the substations themselves and undertake system maintenance. High levels of job satisfaction amongst my staff and of customer satisfaction are important to me."

Ernst Bauersachs, Operations Manager, Westfälische Fernwärmeversorgung

From manual to automatic

High degree of accuracy in measurements guarantees accurate billing

Previously, the heat meters were read on site by a small army of pensioners, but this method required a great deal of time and effort. The company did experiment with issuing customers their own meter reading cards. However, since only 3/4 of the customers completed the cards correctly and returned them on time, the meter readers still had to make their rounds. Moreover, according to Mr Bauersachs, meter reading is a duty of the supplier.

The idea of wireless reading was therefore obvious, especially because its 80 major customers with effective demand factors of between 200 kW and 4 MW needed monthly readings, and their meters were therefore the first to be read wirelessly. Shortly after this, Mr Bauersachs took the decision to incorporate all the heat meters in his service area into the wireless reading system, thereby implementing the full benefits of automation.

No meter readers in the house

"There were only five customers who initially did not want a wireless module. They were therefore given the option of continuing to complete their own meter reading cards. The vast majority of our customers truly appreciate the convenience of wireless reading. Initially, some did wonder how we would know their consumption without a meter reader calling on them," says Mr Bauersachs.

Sometimes a customer has questions about their bill. The utility company is then able to access a detailed load profile of specific days from the heat meter's data logger heat meter and provide the customer with an accurate answer regarding their consumption. Generally, customers have responded positively to the wireless meter reading. They no longer have to let a meter reader

into their homes or make appointments to do so. Having customers read their own meters was always a stopgap solution, because that is giving the customer a duty which actually lies with the supplier.

Quality is worth it

Westfälische Fernwärmeversorgung has been a customer of Kamstrup since 2001. In addition to the outstanding wireless communication, Mr Bauersachs also particularly values the high degree of accuracy in measurements from the MULTICAL® heat meters which guarantee accurate billing. "Our customers must be able to trust the heat billing, and for us as a provider, it is very important that we can demonstrate the quality of the heat meter." A die-hard engineer himself, Mr Bauersachs attaches great importance to the expertise of his suppliers. Finally, the heat meters must maintain their measurement stability even after years of operation.

Münster, Germany

Westfälische Fernwärmeversorgung in Münster operates 1,800 district heating connections. Since 2011, all of its heat meters have been equipped with wireless modules.

  • MULTICAL 402 heat meters
  • Wireless reading via USB Meter Reader and notebook