In a world of smart phones, smart cars, and smart appliances, drinking water utilities are striving to keep pace, installing smart meters that send real-time data about usage, leakage, and water quality.
The migration has been slow, however, mainly because of their high cost, according to the head of DC Water, the utility serving the nation’s capital.
The cost of installing a smart meter is a “heavy lift no matter what the size of the utility,” George Hawkins, DC Water’s chief executive officer and general manager, told Bloomberg BNA.
On average, a regular analog meter would cost $25. The average cost of installing a smart meter at each house in the nation’s capital is coming out to be $180, according to DC Water, which distributes drinking water and collects and treats wastewater for more than 672,000 residents and 17.8 million annual visitors in the District of Columbia.
Only about 20 percent of U.S. drinking water utilities have adopted the new technology, while about 60 percent of the country’s electric utilities use digitized smart meters, according to a recent report by the Energy & Utilities practice at business consultants West Monroe Partners.
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