Water Utilities Indicate that Implementing Smart Meter Technologies is Critical

Posted: Thursday 21st January 2010

Oracle has announced the results of the “Testing the Water: Smart Metering for Water Utilities” research report , which surveyed more than 1,200 water consumers and 300 water utility managers in the United States and Canada to examine:

o Water utility managers’ perception of, and future plans for, smart meter technology, including benefits and potential obstacles

o Water consumers’ perception of their water use, motivations for conservation, and what they feel they need from their water utilities

Key Findings

· The research report found that consumers care about water conservation and believe they can reduce personal water use. Consumers surveyed also believe receiving more detailed information on their water consumption will motivate their water conservation efforts.

o 76% are concerned about the need to conserve water in their community.

o 69% believe they could reduce their personal water use.

o 71% believe having access to detailed usage data would encourage them to take steps to lower water use.

· Water utility managers indicate that they are committed to promoting water conservation and believe smart meter technology adoption is critical. However, actual implementations are in a nascent stage.

o 73% say their utility actively promotes water conservation.

o 68% believe it is critical that water utilities adopt smart meter technologies, but only one-third are currently considering or implementing smart meter technologies.

o When asked to select the top two most significant benefits of smart meter technology deployment, respondents cited enabling early leak detection (62%) as the biggest benefit, followed by supplying customers with tools to monitor/reduce water use (35%).

o Respondents cite lack of cost recovery or measurable return on investment (46%) and upfront utility expenses (42%) as the top two roadblocks to implementation.

“Smart grid and smart metering has received a lot of buzz in recent months – with electric utilities receiving most of the spotlight. However, water utilities also face aging infrastructures, sustainability challenges and customer demand for better service. Oracle’s ‘Testing the Water’ report indicates that while water utilities realize that smart meter technologies can have a big impact on their business, there is a greater need to focus on consumer education and communication. Smart meter technologies can produce the actionable data required to provide consumers with information they can use to make smarter decisions about water consumption,” said Stephan Scholl, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Utilities.

“At Las Vegas Valley Water District, we have learned that providing consumers with useful information about conservation really does drive behaviour change. The ‘Testing the Water’ report provides important data on the challenges and benefits associated with implementing smart meter technologies. Cost is an enormous factor, but many water utilities fail to see the huge impact smart meter technologies can have on their bottom line. It’s not just about reducing truck rolls – it’s about helping customers make better choices and improving efficiency throughout the business,” added Alisa Mann, customer services manager, Las Vegas Valley Water District.

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