Water companies want to “get to where the energy companies are” when it comes to collecting and using information from smart meters, Sutton and East Surrey (SESW) has said.
Speaking at Utility Week Live, SESW innovation manager Jeremy Heath, who is also chair of Water UK’s metering group, said there is a great deal of value that can be derived from the use of smart meters.
However, he said smart metering in water is unlikely to be a national mandate, at least in the short term, because every water company will need to use meters to “resolve its own problems”.
For example, one use for SESW would be to look at how sprinkler users can change their demand pattern so that they use sprinklers at times of low water demand.
“Solutions will look completely different for each company,” he said. “I can’t see a single unified water metering system across the UK – if it does happen it’ll be a long way away.”
Also on the panel, Welsh Water strategy manager Andy Blackhall said of the company’s customers it had asked none said they would reject a water meter.
Heath said the wholesale and retail market split will affect metering, as the retailer and wholesaler both rely on information and it is not yet known what the relationship between the two will be.
The panel agreed that water data will be owned by the customer, as it is in the energy sector, and they will be able to choose which companies can see their data.
In March, Thames Water chief financial officer Stuart Siddall said smart metering will be “revolutionary” for the water sector.