Smart meters to make water bills dearer by 50%

Water board conducts pilot study in a bid to replace mechanical meters in city

If all the mechanical water meters in the city were to be replaced by RFD (Radio Frequency Detection) water meters, the monthly water bill in several residential apartments and commercial establishments would go up by over 50%, a pilot study conducted recently revealed. The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) had installed 1,580 RFD water meters in three localities over a period of three months to take the readings.

The meters were installed at Adarsh Nagar (Gunfoundry), Prashasan Nagar (Jubilee Hills) and Kavuri Hills (Madhapur).

In two months, June and July, on an average, the RFD meters billed 89.15 million litres when compared to mechanical meters that billed 70.41 million litres of water. The average bill generated by the mechanical meters during this period was ₹19.73 lakh per month against ₹29.69 lakh that the RFD meters billed. As the difference between the two average billings is ₹9.96 lakh, the water board authorities have concluded that RFD meters, which use radio frequency waves to meter water consumption, is a better fit for cities as densely populated as Hyderabad.

The RFD meters are more efficient as they do not measure air flow in water pipes that mechanical meters end up measuring quite often. The smart meters are tamper-proof, M. Dana Kishore, Managing Director of HMWS&SB, had earlier said. The RFD meters can also measure increase and decrease in the water flow. “The meters are hassle-free and can be read remotely using meter readers. Just a drive around the area where such water meters are installed will allow billing agents to collect the readings on their RFD readers,” Vijay Kumar Reddy, Revenue Director of the water board, told The Hindu.

Till December, 2017, the water board used to bill just 266 million gallons of the 448 million gallons of water released in the pipes per day (MGD). However, this year, after the board introduced a change in the billing cycle by reducing the number of connections assigned to each billing agent, the authorities were able to bill consumers for 313 MG of water per day out of 448 MGD released. “This is over 30% increase in the billed water. If new meters are introduced, we can further improve our revenue,” Mr. Reddy said.

The water board, however, has not set a time-frame for the introduction of RFD meters.

“We are also looking at meters which rely on Internet of Things (IoT) that can be read using online applications,” Mr. Reddy said.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 2:22:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/smart-meters-to-make-water-bills-dearer-by-50/article24786941.ece

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