The intelligence makes all the difference

From mechanical to Ultrasonic, Drive-by meter reading, Improved efficiency

Tekniska Verken Kiruna is replacing all their mechanical water meters with smart meters and a mobile meter reading system from Kamstrup. Their new metering solution will improve their efficiency and provide the basis for future optimisations.

Kiruna Municipality, located at the very top of Northern Sweden, is characterised by an extreme contrast between its desolate wilderness and the growing and developed Kiruna town. Out of the approximately 23,000 inhabitants, about 18,000 live in Kiruna town while the rest live more scattered in small villages and remote areas across its 20,000 square kilometres. Tekniska Verken Kiruna (TVAB) is responsible for all water meters in Kiruna municipality. In 2015, the company started exchanging their old mechanical water meters in the Jukkasjärvi area with new ultrasonic meters that are read remotely using mobile reading.

As a result of the rather unique geographical conditions in TVAB’s enormous supply area, they have a constant focus on being as efficient as possible in order to keep down costs. The upgrade was, therefore, a result of the company’s efforts to improve their meter reading efficiency.

“With remote reading, we know the exactly when the meters are read and everything is timestamped and reported back to us.”

Lennart Töyrä, TVAB, Sweden

Transparency from smart metering

The new water meters provide a number of benefits compared to their mechanical counterparts. Intelligent alarms in the ultrasonic meters enable TVAB to detect errors such as leaks, reverse flows and other irregularities, which reduces the water loss in their distribution network. “It’s the intelligence that makes all the difference,” says Lennart Töyrä, Meter Manager at the Department of Water and Wastewater at TVAB.

The new meters also allow fast and simple remote reading minimising the time the company spends on reading and handling meter data. With Kamstrup’s remote reading system, READy, TVAB employees can simply drive around the supply area collecting meter data automatically via the READy app and a concentrator – without having to inconvenience their customers. This is especially useful for holiday houses or places that are difficult or dangerous to access.

With the old mechanical meters, TVAB was dependent on their customers to manually read their own meters, fill out annual meter reading cards and send them to TVAB. In addition to being a hassle for customers, the manual approach to meter reading is inefficient, says Lennart Töyrä: “30% of our customers never send in their card and out of the ones that do, another 30% are unusable due to errors or inaccuracies.”

Also, TVAB does not know the exact time where the meters are read. “With remote reading, we know the exactly when the meters are read and everything is timestamped and reported back to us.”

4 ways TVAB gets value from their solution

Simple, cost-effective and independent

TVAB’s metering solution from Kamstrup is simple but efficient. The combination of battery-driven meters, repeaters and the concentrator makes the solution stable and independent of a net connection. 

Once the meter exchange is completed, TVAB will be invoicing their customers twice a year. Sending out more frequent but smaller invoices makes it possible to detect, for example, running toilets, earlier and smaller invoices are more manageable for the customers. 

TVAB will then also be able to utilise the meter data for further optimising their operations, distribution and customer service, but what is currently missing is any historical meter data, because the switch from mechanical to smart meters is still ongoing. ”Once we have the meter data history, we will be able to make more optimisations,” explains Lennart Töyrä.

About the case

  • MULTICAL® 21 and flowIQ 3100 water meters
  • Meter reading is done via READy mobile reading
  • Timeframe: all mechanical water meters are expected to be replaced within the next few years.

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