As the cold snap brings infrastructure challenges and the cost-of-living crisis presents challenges for customers, Yorkshire Water is making a significant investment in smart meter technology as part of a strategic commitment across its network.
The company has its origins in the Yorkshire Water Authority, one of 10 regional water authorities created by the Water Act 1973, and was privatised under the terms of the Water Act 1989. Yorkshire Water has targets to reduce leakage by 50% by 2050 and improve customers’ water use efficiency by reducing per capita consumption (PCC) by 9% by 2025.
Almost a third of leaks are found on the pipe leading up to the customer boundary. Advanced metering is seen as an essential element in the drive to alleviate such leaks, so Yorkshire Water has implemented an advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) framework to identify pipes that have continuous flow and may have a leak, helping it to locate and fix issues quicker.
The advanced metering framework is designed to enable Yorkshire Water to meet those targets by installing smart meters to provide near real-time insights into leaks and customer usage, enabling those customers to make more informed decisions on how they use water and ultimately save money.
The AMI framework has seen Yorkshire Water award contracts to internet of things (IoT) operator Netmore to install smart meters on all new housing developments, and both Netmore and IoT and smart technology provider Connexin for wider meter exchange and install programmes. The partnership will last for up to 20 years, allowing five years for the provision of meters and 15 years for the provision of data collection by the meters, in line with the assets’ expected lifetime.
Both suppliers will be using networks based on the LoRaWAN protocol to provide reliable data provision at an efficient cost while still attaining a long battery life. The framework will cover the provision of Itron meters and Cyble 5 devices to send regular flow data to Yorkshire Water, removing the need to physically visit the meter and reducing the carbon footprint of its metering operations. In practice, said Connexin, the deployment requires stringent engineering and network standards to ensure reliable data transfer while maintaining a 15-year battery life in the Itron Aquadis+ meters.
The first phase of the Connexin deployment includes the installation of around 30,000 Itron LoRaWAN water meters across the Yorkshire region. Following this, larger planned roll-out phases will launch in subsequent years.
Commenting on the project, Adam Smith, manager of smart networks and metering transformation at Yorkshire Water, said: “We are thrilled to start the journey of advanced customer metering – a really strategic way to reduce leakage, improve our services, and help customers save money on their bills.
“We have worked with Connexin extensively over the past year to validate the advantages of using LoRaWAN technology to provide stable and reliable connectivity for our smart meters while ensuring a battery life in the meters of around 15 years. Being able to rely on Connexin’s proven expertise in this area gives us confidence that we can achieve our ambitions to deliver for our customers in the county.”