South Staffs Water is running a trial of long-range radio communications connected to 1,000 smart water meters.
The water company is using technology from the SmartReach collaboration between Arqiva, BT, BAE Systems Detica and Sensus to connect to the meters, many of which are in hard to reach locations.
Colin Wayper, network director at South Staffs Water, said SmartReach was chosen because it is proven to connect to smart meters in the demanding British environment, even in locations where other communications technologies tend to suffer from patchy or unreliable coverage.
SmartReach has also been running trials with Scottish Power, SSE and Thames Water to demonstrate the suitability of long-range radio for dedicated smart meter communications – for both energy and water networks.
More on smart meters
It is essential that utility companies can connect smart meters to the network first time, and that communication can be established with all meters, if the government’s plan to adopt smart metering is to succeed.
In its GB Smart Metering Implementation Programme, the government plans to put 53 million smart meters in homes and businesses in the UK by 2019 as part of a programme to reduce energy consumption. But it could face a major challenge in the face of concerns about the safety of smart meters in the home and the potential invasion of privacy.
While the installation of smart water meters has not been mandated by UK government, trials will help to evaluate the benefits such a system could provide to the operation of a water network.