Articles & Case Studies

Sensus revolutionises meter reading at home

Posted: Monday 21st April 2008

Partially-sighted Alan Harrison can now read his water meter from the comfort of his home – thanks to ground-breaking technology that automatically sends data from the meter to a hand-held LCD device no bigger than a mobile phone.

The ScoutDisplay is linked to a revolutionary automatic meter reading (AMR) system developed by Sensus Metering Systems, which enables water meters to be read remotely. As a result, Alan is one of the first residents in the UK who can monitor his water consumption without leaving his armchair.

Says Alan: “Our meter is situated next to a busy road so crouching down close enough to read it is almost impossible. I have always kept a record of how much water we consume so the task of reading the meter fell on my wife.”

Alan, who lives in Sturminster Newton, a small market town in North Dorset, suffers from sight problems and he is unable to drive, see signs or read emails, so reading a water meter situated at the bottom of his driveway in a hole was out of the question.

When Alan voiced his concerns to Wessex Water, his regional water company, it contacted Sensus Metering Systems, who suggested linking the ScoutDisplay to its new Sensus((S))cout automatic meter reading system.

Sensus’ Adam Parsonage explains: “The meter in the ground is fitted with a transponder which collects the data and sends the information to the LCD display. The display shows in clear digital format, the last 24 hours of water consumption, the monthly and yearly consumption and will also flag up any leakages that may occur. The system also means that Wessex Water can read the meter remotely using their own hand-held units.”

Wessex Water is the latest company to install Sensus((S))cout technology. It is Europe’s most advanced Automatic Meter Reading system and is being installed in a number of regions around the country. Sensus((S))cout allows meters to be read remotely either by using a hand held device or, as is increasingly the case, through a fixed radio network leading to a central office location.

Comments Mike Smith from Wessex Water: “When Alan approached us we were delighted to help. This story demonstrates the flexibility of the Sensus((S))cout system – while we use the technology to collect our own readings, it also means that we can extend the capability to residents with particular needs. It also means that customers can monitor consumption.”

The system also automatically alerts Wessex Water to incidents of leakage and enables the water company to monitor water demand much more accurately.

Says Alan: “The ScoutDisplay has been a tremendous help to me. I can now read my meter on a daily basis from the comfort of my own home and not have to worry about how I’m going to check the volume of water we’re using.”

Jonathan Holyhead from the Dorset Blind Association comments on the technology: “The Dorset Blind Association fully supports any technology or other assistive devices which help visually impaired people to maintain independence and continue to carry out tasks of daily living which sighted people take for granted.”

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