Wireless Water Meters: Water Submetering, Currently

This article is part of our new series Wireless Water Meters: The Smart Choice, which looks at Water Submetering trends and the potential for industry improvements; This series will run throughout the month of May. Read more stories in the series.

If you’re reading this article, it means you probably know something about water submetering already. And you probably already know that submetering allows for more accurate billing of utility usage, compared to building owners charging a flat rate.

Similarly, using a Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) is ineffective as well, where the total amount of utility used by the whole building is divided by the number of tenants in a building equally, regardless of how much they use.

As a submetering company, we believe that flat rate systems and RUBS are unfair and discourage energy conservation. Further, these systems will become costlier and less effective as utility prices continue to rise.

Use Encoded Meters over Pulse Meters

What you may not know is the availability and variety of different water submeters. Most existing water submeters in the market are either pulse-based (where an electronic ‘pulse’ is generated for a specified litre of water passing through the pipes), or encoded (where the specific utility usage is sent in a coded format to another external device to count). We prefer to use encoded meters over pulse meters, as encoded meters are able to provide a larger set of information for use. Take a look at our PDF comparing M-Bus vs Pulse meters.

Fixed network AMR systems can save you time and money

In addition, there are different methods to collect meter data. A common method currently is to have an employee manually walk up to a meter, read the usage on the meter through a handheld device, or manually write it down, and move on to the next. For larger buildings, most meters can be found in one location on a floor, or a set location. Another method would be to set up a drive-by automatic meter reading (AMR) system, where all meter points within a building send their data through a short wireless capacity, and an employee drives by in a vehicle to collect this data.

This can be useful to have, but we prefer to use a fixed network AMR system, where it can help automatically collect meter data and send that data through a variety of wired connections. While useful, these systems are usually limited in range, especially in highly populated places, such as high rise buildings or condos. This increases the cost of these systems which makes them less appealing to purchase and use.

If only newer and more advanced technology was available for those who are interested in greater value, less work, and lower cost-of-ownership…

Stay tuned for next week’s article, Wireless Water Meters: Water Submetering, Wireless.

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