We’re fitting water meters, through a range of different programmes, to help us manage the shortfall in supply that’s been projected for our area - which has been classified as seriously water stressed, meaning that demand for water is higher than the amount available.
We meter our water network in a range of different ways, and we’re fitting meters at all our customers’ homes as part of our progressive metering programme, which started in London in 2015. Customers can opt to have a meter even if we’re not yet working in their area, and we’re continually replacing old, broken and missing meters. We also fit large non-billable meters on pipes which feed large buildings, to help us find leaks as part of our bulk metering programme.
Installing a smart meter at a customer’s home.
Our progressive metering programme.
London and the Thames Valley is already one of the most densely populated parts of the country, and managing water supplies will only get more difficult with population growth and climate change. By 2045, we forecast that there will be a shortfall of water equivalent to the amount needed by over two million people if we take no action.
Our progressive metering programme is at the heart of our government approved plan to reduce demand for water. We’re fitting free smart water meters at all customers’ homes in our region, starting in London. In 2017/18, we installed just over 98,000 free smart meters through our progressive metering programme, bringing the total to over 243,000 across fourteen London Boroughs - Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.
Smart metering technology also helps us to find leaks by identifying when there’s always water flowing through a meter. Metering also means that our customers’ bills reflect the amount of water they use, making it a fairer way to pay. In 2017/18, 1,437 leaks were repaired at customer properties after being detected by smart meters.
Opting for a meter.
If we’re not yet fitting meters in an area as part of our progressive metering programme, customers can request a meter through our optant metering programme at any time. In 2017/18, over 16,500 customers had a meter fitted through this programme. All the meters we fit in London will be smart meters.
Replacing existing meters.
When meters reach a certain age, or become faulty, we replace them. In 2017/18, we replaced over 19,600 existing meters across our region. When we replace an existing meter in London, we replace it with a smart meter.
Bulk metering programme.
To help us find leaks, we fit meters called ‘bulk’ meters on large private supply pipes which serve many buildings or properties. These meters aren’t used for billing, but they allow us to identify leaks which can then be fixed, preventing water being wasted. In 2017/18, fitting over 550 bulk meters helped us to save the equivalent of over 5.7 million litres of water each day that was being lost through leaking pipes on customers’ supply pipes.
Finding customer-side leaks.
Smart meters, which we’re now fitting across London through our progressive metering programme, are able to show if water is continuously flowing through a meter for a sustained period. This allows us to pinpoint leaks more quickly and accurately than ever before.
The graph below shows how we can identify and repair leaks using hourly smart meter data. Without a smart meter, this leak on a customer’s supply pipe could have wasted over 10 million litres of water a year, and generated a bill of over £21,000. Instead we were able to find it, and fix it for free.
What our customers think.
We collect customer feedback across all of our metering work, and we’re continually introducing new initiatives to improve our customer service, such as booking appointments online. See what our customers have been saying about having a meter fitted recently: