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Smart water metering programme


Rolling out the world’s largest smart water metering programme with Anglian Water

An award-winning metering programme is helping save water in the East of England, using techniques learnt from Formula 1 to deliver a roll-out in record time.

Clancy is working with Anglian Water to deliver one of the largest smart water metering programmes in the world.

During the course of the next four years of the current regulatory period of the English water industry – AMP7 – Clancy and Anglian Water are due to exchange over 877,000 water meters for smart meters, providing useful information that will help save water and reduce bills for customers.

The Anglian region is the driest in the UK, receiving only two-thirds of the national average rainfall each year. However, household numbers are growing – in the next ten years, the number of households is set to rise by 34 per cent.

As the country faces the looming challenges of climate change and increasingly dry weather, it is absolutely essential to have a firm understanding of water usage.

92 per cent of Anglian Water customers have a water meter installed. Now, with better technology, Clancy and Anglian are able to roll out smart metering to build an even better understanding of the network.

Lessons from the Grand Prix

After proving successful in trial areas, Clancy is now rolling out smart meters across entire regions areas, beginning with most water ‘stressed’ locations, allowing Anglian Water to receive data from whole geographical areas simultaneously.

The programme is being delivered together with Kier through the Integrated Metering and Developer Services (IMDS) Alliance. Early in the programme the partners committed to looking at innovative ways of speeding up the process – both to increase coverage quickly and to minimise interruptions for customers.

“This programme was always very ambitious”, explains Ashley York, senior operations manager at Clancy. “Our daily meter target is 1,000 – meaning that engineers need to fit on average of 25 meters per person each day. We were inspired by Formula 1’s pitstop model of identifying small changes we could make to help us install the smart meters as quickly and effectively as possible.”

The Formula 1 model saw a range of techniques deployed to up the pace of delivery – from looking at team structures, to installation and assurance processes. Overall, the programme delivered a three-minute reduction in time taken per installation – saving £1 million a year. Quality control measures have seen input errors fall by 72 per cent, with associated costs to revisit jobs reducing from £184.68 to just £10.99.

The exchange programme has been a smooth one, as Ashley explains: “rolling out the meters across whole areas has allowed us to work faster and more efficiently, and we’ve exchanged well over 100,000 meters since the start of AMP7 in April 2020.

“The success of the programme is testament to our close partnership with Anglian Water and the integrated way we deliver across the network.”

Unforeseen challenges

AMP7 has of course coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought with it a whole host of unexpected challenges.

“With more people at home than ever before, it’s been really important that people understand what it is we’re doing and why,” says Ashley. “We represent Anglian Water to customers, so we’ve worked closely with them to understand what customers have been told and to make sure we’re staying on message.”

Saving water

Anglian Water has one of the best track records for detecting and fixing leaks in the UK per kilometre of pipe, but is investing millions over the next five years to drive down leakage even further. The day-to-day tackling of leakage in the mains network is part of Clancy’s brief and in 2019, Clancy and Kier took on responsibility for leak detection across the framework.

Installing smart meters across the region will help reduce leakage significantly by helping detect in-home and customer side supply pipe leaks faster.

“People don’t realise just how much water a leaky loo or dripping tap can waste over a year,” says Ashley. “Because they’re out of Anglian Water’s control, it’s traditionally been much harder to find and measure water wasted through in-house leaks.”

Installing smart meters, however, can help Anglian Water alert customers about any leaks within their home and encourage them to fix them, reducing water waste and lowering customers’ bills. Already, initial data has shown that 8.2 per cent of households have in-home leaks – much higher than anticipated before trials.

The data will be used to inform how Anglian Water communicates with customers around saving water, Ashley explains: “Giving customers access to information about their water usage should encourage people to make small changes to reduce how much water they use. We used to ask customers to do questionnaires so we could give them advice about saving water – these smart meters mean we can now give them personalised advice without taking up their time. “

Industry recognition

In recognition of the innovative work being done on this programme, the Anglian Water IMDS Alliance of Clancy, Kier and Anglian Water has won a Utility Week award for supply chain excellence with the Formula 1-inspired process.

“We’ve worked really closely with Kier and Anglian Water to roll out this programme and it’s great that this has been recognised in an award.

“We’re very proud of the hard work our teams have put in to deliver smarter, greener infrastructure which will benefit their customers for years to come.”

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