Thames Water has become the first company in the UK to deploy 500,000 smart water meters as it works to increase penetration in London before expanding across the Thames Valley.

The company said the data gathered from the 12 million daily reads has helped it identify leakage both in customers’ homes and within the network, which has contributed to its progress on reducing leakage.

It is the first company to rollout a fully smart advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) programme that has focused on domestic properties in London and Haslemere, near Guildford. The operations team will expand the programme to Swindon and Oxford which, like Haslemere, each face supply issues.

Mark Cooper, head of metering, told Utility Week the programme drives home the message of taking less water from the environment and described the smart metering project as the cornerstone of the company’s water efficiency drive.

From 2025, the rollout across Thames Valley will be underway and Cooper said the team expects to have meters fitted in all suitable homes during AMP8 and AMP9. On properties that are currently unsuitable, Cooper said innovation was needed to fit meters on households that share a water source, such as converted properties and flats.

Cooper said the customer response to greater understanding of their consumption has been to reduce usage, and where continuous flows have been identified on a property that would impact on bills, householders have fixed the leak in up to 70 per cent of incidents within a day. “It’s been a real call to action,” he said.

Dr Nathan Richardson, head of policy and strategy at Waterwise, said: “Thames Water’s smart water meter programme is sector leading and Waterwise are huge fans. It is helping the company and its customers save water; reduce carbon emissions and ultimately it means that more water is left in the environment. We would like to see government, regulators and the rest of the sector getting on board, with smart meters rolled out to all homes.”

The information available from the smart meters offered in-depth insight to how consumption patterns shifted during lockdown. With fewer people residing in the capital for work there was decreased use across London and greater use in the Thames Valley area.

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