Case Study 2 – Dublin Region AMR

In accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), the Irish Government’s National Water Pricing Policy Framework required local authorities to charge non-domestic water customers so as to recover the full costs of providing potable water and for treating wastewater. As a result, the four local authorities of Dublin – Fingal County Council, Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council – sought to achieve universal metering of the water supplied to the non-domestic (commercial) sector in the Dublin region, a project which began in 2005. The aim was to provide a fair and equitable way for non-domestic customers to pay for their water.


THE PROBLEM Prior to 2005:

  • Many commercial water supplies in the Dublin region were not metered;
  • Unmetered customers generally paid a fixed charge for their water supply, a system which provided no incentive for customers to conserve water or repair leaks;
  • Many existing water meters were old, and had become unreadable and worn internally over time;
  • Meter reads were collected manually – a time-consuming, costly and inefficient method of data collection which was prone to human error
  • Private-side leaks continued undetected, placing unnecessary water demand on an already strained network;
  • Meters could be by-passed and/or tampered with without detection;
  • Many water supplies served multiple addresses, making individual metering difficult and often impossible without undertaking major plumbing alterations.

With approximately 30,000 non-domestic water supplies in the region, the local authorities required a robust metering database which would store meter reads, integrate with their existing billing software and provide detailed reporting and analytical functionality.


THE SOLUTION

The priority of the client was to install accurate water meters which could be read in the shortest possible time, making their internal processes considerably more efficient by cutting time, work and costs. With the ability to accurately record and transfer meter reads wirelessly, HYDROMETER’S range of highly accurate and robust water meters coupled with their proven drive-by Automatic Meter Reading technology was the ideal solution.

  • 30,000 HYDROMETER water meters equipped with low frequency radio transponders were installed throughout the Dublin region on all non-domestic water supplies.
  • Each radio module can store up to 3 ‘end-of-month’ reads, enabling the collection of 12 monthly reads in only 4 visits.
  • All 30,000 meters can be read four times annually by two ‘drive-by’ meter readers, a fraction of the man-power required to read an equivalent non-AMR network.
  • The AMR system’s capabilities include an early warning leak alarm that is triggered by continuous flow, and a manipulation alarm that is triggered when the radio module is removed from the meter.
  • The network of meters is supported by a robust and purpose-built metering database which interfaces with the local authorities’ billing systems, enabling efficient and timely distribution of water bills.


Drive-By Meter Reading


Consumption Analysis


THE GMC UTILITIES GROUP BENEFITS

HYDROMETER’S technology provides a fair and equitable way for non-domestic customers to pay for their water consumption.
Huge savings in time and costs required to read meters have been achieved by the local authorities, enabling them to allocate resources to other aspects of network management.

The system’s ability to rapidly identify continuous flow has provided the Local Authorities with an additional management tool for identifying private side leakage.
Speed of AMR data transfer has greatly reduced the time needed to collect reads and process bills. The unique ability to store historic reads assists local authority billing departments when resolving billing queries, by allowing billing staff to reference the consumption profile of the customer. This additional quality assurance function is carried out in advance of bill production and minimizes the need for estimations and eradicates billing errors.

The radio modules will transmit continuously for ten years before a battery replacement will be required, unlike other AMR systems where battery life is impacted as a result of continuous transmission.
HYDROMETER’S technology provides a cost effective meter reading metering solution for the Dublin Authorities which in turn has improved revenue streams and decreased the risk of bad debt.