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Intelligent Metering for Water Potential Alignment with Energy Smart Metering (2008)

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This report examines the potential for aligning intelligent water metering systems with energy smart metering. With large-scale rollout of energy smart metering anticipated by the Government and the energy industry, this report describes the smart metering developments in energy and explores the political environment. Opportunities were investigated for a jointly developed, universal, coordinated installation and rollout of energy and water smart metering solutions. The report concludes that while a joint rollout may not occur in the near future, it is important to avoid creating any barriers to do so long-term.

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Executive Summary

The smart metering concept is well advanced in the energy sector and a detailed set of requirements for smart metering has been developed by energy retail companies, in anticipation of a government mandate for national rollout over a 10-year programme.

In the water industry, where a minority (typically one in three) of consumers are actually metered, the focus is on the benefits of moving towards 100 per cent metering.

This report identifies opportunities from intelligent water metering for: water demand management; system and energy demand management; carbon reduction; improved affordability; and support for potential water supply competition.

Investigation and development of intelligent water metering is less well advanced than energy but this is understandable given the different regulatory frameworks and political drivers. Some work has been done on intelligent water metering (such as the Intelligent Metering Initiative), with some input from the energy sector to this work.

This report aims to examine the potential for aligning intelligenti water metering systems with energy smart metering. With large-scale rollout of energy smart metering anticipated by Government and the energy industry, this report describes the smart metering developments in energy and opportunities for the water sector.

Energy smart metering developments have been mindful of water metering and have made provision for the use of the energy smart metering infrastructure for intelligent water metering. As a consequence, there are currently no technical barriers to using the proposed energy smart metering infrastructure for intelligent water metering, subject to suitable commercial and access arrangements being put in place. However, the energy smart metering operational framework is still in development and there is a risk that any future development work might introduce technical barriers unless water and energy sectors cooperate closely to prevent this.

The report also explores the current political environment; whilst there is a government expectation of universal smart energy metering in 10 years, this is not yet formal policy. For the energy industry (and therefore the water industry if the energy framework is to be considered) to plan with some certainty requires a government mandate for energy smart metering to all domestic premises (and potentially small business premises) in Great Britain and an interoperable framework to build on but an opportunity exists for water sector to use the energy infrastructure in the future. Opportunities were investigated for a jointly developed, universal, coordinated installation and rollout of energy and water smart metering solutions. The report concludes that this is unlikely to be a realistic possibility in useful timescales.

There is currently no formal interface between the water industry and energy smart metering development and we recommend that this is put in place formally, with water sector input into energy smart metering development and energy sector input into water metering initiatives. We also recommend the setting up of a strategic policy group to encourage input from the energy and water industry in each others’ work. There is currently no centrally coordinated policy group for metering and/or intelligent metering in the water sector that encompasses all water companies and key stakeholders (the Intelligent Metering Initiative includes a subset of stakeholders).

These recommendations should ensure the water sector has the opportunity to use the energy smart metering infrastructure, even if the rollout is not coordinated in a joint water and energy implementation programme. A policy group can also inform the energy industry of any progress in intelligent water metering initiatives.