Poor installation of domestic meters will cost the water industry millions of pounds in repair costs and SIM scores. Preparing simple guidance and training for contractors will reduce these costs for utilities.
Water companies will be installing millions of new meters in domestic properties and small commercial premises throughout AMP6 and beyond. These meters are installed in boundary boxes, wall boxes and internally, and it is estimated that 20% of installations are poorly completed. This leads to problems such as increased leakage and lost revenue, inaccurate bills and remedial costs being incurred. Reinstallation visits cause customer disruption leading to complaints impacting adversely on SIM scores.
There is a need to improve installation of meters to get it right first time.
A first time household meter installation typically costs between £100 and £500 in direct costs. The costs of rectifying problems incurred during installation are typically higher, and vary from £100 for a simple screw-in meter replacement up to £1200 for a replacement boundary box and meter. The costs associated with complaints and effects on SIM scores, and lost revenue, add to this greatly.
Better guidance for installation contractors would reduce the number of poor installations. If they were reduced by 50%, approximately £2.5 million would be saved for every 100,000 meters installed.
The WRc meter installation guide from 1994 is the standard document in the industry. However, it needs updating to reflect latest knowledge, installation techniques and increasing use of AMR. The guidance would be updated to cover all modern applications, meters and installation methods and would include a complete training course for installation staff using multi-media such as short videos and tool box talks as appropriate.
The project will draw on WRc, meter suppliers and installation contractors’ experience to produce practical guidance to improve meter installation rates and reduce repeat visits to fix problems.