Water companies wait for someone else to take the plunge on smart metering
On the subject of automating mundane processes, a recent study released by Oracle Utilities, a business unit of the software giant, showed that only 7 percent of more than 300 water utilities surveyed have fully implemented advanced metering, a technology that enables two-way communications between customers and a water company via a networked smart meter. Another 7 percent have begun pilot programs, and a similar number have plans in place to use the new technology.
The technology, similar to that being touted for the nation’s electricity grid, could enable conservation by providing detailed, real-time data about water usage. But no one wants to be on the cutting edge of this wave, said Guerry Waters, vice president of industry strategy at Oracle Utilities.
“What they are waiting for is for some project to get into full implementation so that they can see that everything is going to work,” Waters said.
The primary concerns about advanced metering include the costs of implementing such a system, security, interoperability and long-term product support in what is now an emerging and proprietary industry.
William Jackson is a senior writer of GCN and the author of the CyberEye blog.