Customer Meter Demographics and Consumption Record

Water utilities that employ best management practices for meter management usually have a thorough understanding of their customer meter demographics and the accuracy of the different meter types in their system. Many water utilities, however, are not current with the status of their meter population. It is not uncommon for an incoming water utility manager to inherit a meter population that was installed 15, 20, or 25 years ago but hasn't experienced ongoing meter testing, rotation, or right-sizing. In many such cases, the size, type, make, and performance of the meter population are poorly documented. The important first step in this case is to compile existing customer account and meter data to establish the basic demographics and accuracy levels of the meter population.

Meter demographics: If the customer meter population characteristics are not well known, the auditor can conduct research using purchase and installation records, billing records, customer complaint histories, and meter accuracy test results to compile information on the sizes, types, brands, ages, and cumulative consumption levels of customer meters. Additionally, new procedures can be instituted to require customer service and/or meter service workers to gather specific meter and account information at customer sites as they conduct their work assignments; this information can be input into the data archival system. Table 12.1 is a summary table displaying the customer meter demographics for the fictitious County Water Company (CWC).1 Reports can be generated in a manner similar to this table to display the characteristic of the meter population.

Since meter technology is always improving, new types and models of meters are frequently introduced to the water market. Many water utilities purchase meters in lots in a competitive bidding process and, over long periods of time, gradually install a variety of makes and models in their system, particularly in the large customer meter classes. It is important that the auditor have a reasonable sense of the meter population demographics in order to formulate a sound meter testing, right-sizing, and rotation strategy.

In addition to the meter demographics shown in Table 12.1, consumption summaries are a useful management tool to track metering trends and note any unusual patterns. Table 12.2 gives the summary of consumption for County Water Company for calendar year 2006.1 The total consumption in each customer class is tallied and shown in a monthly breakdown. It is important that water utility managers monitor consumption

Meter

Number

Percent

Percent of

Size,

of

of Total

Manufacture

Ave Age

Metered

(in)

Meters

Meters

Type (No.)

(No.)

(yrs)

Consumption

5/8

11,480

94.1

PD* (11,480)

Badger (11,480)

13

71.2

3/4

10

0.08

PD (10)

Rockwell (10)

26

0.1

1

338

4.4

PD (338)

Badger (250)

18

2.8

Neptune (88)

11

1 1/2

124

1.0

PD (124)

Badger (18)

18

2.8

Neptune (106)

9

2

216

1.8

PD (216)

Rockwell (54)

28

11.7

Badger (146)

22

Neptune (16)

20

3

15

0.12

Turbine (15)

Sensus (15)

15

6.6

4

7

0.05

PD (2)

Sparling (2)

26

2.2

Turbine (5)

Sensus (5)

15

6

6

0.05

Turbine (2)

Sensus (2)

15

2.6

Compound (2)

Sparling (2)

29

Propeller (2)

Hersey (2)

40

Total

12,196

100.00

100.0

* PD—Positive displacement. Source: Ref. 1

* PD—Positive displacement. Source: Ref. 1

Table 12.1 Customer Meter Population Demographics and Metered Consumption for County Water Company: January 1 to December 31, 2006

Metered

Total for all

2006 by

Residential

Industrial

Commercial

Agriculture

meters

Month

(million gal)

(million gal)

(million gal)

(million gal)

(million gal)

January

146.6

35.8

8.1

0

190.5

February

162.9

35.8

8.1

0

206.8

March

162.9

35.8

8.1

0

206.8

April

179.2

39.1

8.1

24.4

250.8

May

211.8

42.4

8.1

57.0

319.3

June

228.1

48.9

8.1

74.9

360.0

July

260.3

48.9

8.1

57.0

374.3

August

266.5

48.9

8.1

74.9

398.4

September

228.1

45.6

8.1

65.2

347.0

October

162.9

35.8

8.1

0

206.8

November

162.9

35.8

8.1

0

206.8

December

146.6

35.8

8.1

0

190.5

Annual total

2,318.8

488.6

97.2

353.4

3,258.0

Daily average,

6.35

1.34

0.27

0.97

8.93

MGD

Source: Ref. 1

Table 12.2 Metered Water Consumption by User Category for County Water Company patterns using tables such as Table 12.2. Consumption data should be carefully tracked on a monthly and annual basis in order to detect data anomalies as they become evident. A table similar to Table 12.2 can be constructed showing monthly consumption totals broken down by meter size.

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