Smart water meters substitute meter readers

Water-link and the City of Antwerp are launching a pilot project with new smart water meters. Over 12 months, 1,000 families will use a smart meter. If the results are positive, water-link will install about 205,000 smart water meters by 2020, and every household in Antwerp will be able to monitor its water consumption remotely at any time.

Water-link has already been supplying drinking water in Antwerp for 135 years. The company is now introducing smart meters at 1,000 customers. Water consumption via these meters can then be monitored online or via apps. “This project must increase sustainability, innovation and ease of use for customers," according to André Gantman, president of water-link. “You’ll no longer have to communicate the meter reading, and a meter reader will no longer go to your home for the annual reading.

That also means an end to any unpleasant surprises when you receive your annual settlement bill, and it's safer because thieves can’t pretend they are water-link readers."

Koen Kennis (N-VA), alderman of Finance and Intermunicipal Collaboration, is administrator of the project: "This new generation of energy meters will help people to reduce costs, use water more sensiby, and consume less. Leaks and frozen pipes can also be detected quickly, which is very important for our city."

Initially, 500 families, who are being accompanied by Woonhaven and the Public Centre for Social Welfare, are participating in the pilot project, along with volunteers who can register through the site www.water-link.be. Social Affairs Alderman Fons Duchateau (N-VA) says, "This is a big step forward. We hope that the project will mean the end of people having their water supplies disconnected. Although anybody being disconnected these days has probably had plenty of warnings, it is something we feel very uncomfortable about. A house without water is basically uninhabitable, and it’s painful to hear about families who have been cut off. Smart water meters mean that there will always be a minimum of water supplied, just as with minimum gas and electricity tariffs. It won’t be enough to be comfortable, but it is a conclusive 21st-century answer to the problem of water disconnections."

Save money

Water-link hopes to save money with the new meters, because the administrative department that deals with discussions about bills and disconnections will no longer be necessary. Eventually, ten meter reader jobs in Antwerp will also cease to exist. “That will be a natural phasing out, because obviously we’re not going to make anybody redundant,” says André Gantman.

The contract for the project, which was signed yesterday in the town hall, is a joint venture between ENGIE Fabricom and Hydroko, the company responsible for the supply and installation of smart water meters.

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Source: Het Laatste Nieuws 24/06/2016