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Bexley first borough to get 'smart' water meters

PUBLISHED: 17:32 04 November 2013 | UPDATED: 17:32 04 November 2013

Bexley will be the first place in the UK to receive "smart" water meters connected to a wireless network, enabling residents to monitor their usage online around the clock.

Thames Water, who will fit the meters, claim metered customers use up to 12 per cent less water than unmeasured customers and that the latest move will protect water supplies.

The borough’s supply comes from boreholes into groundwater feeding the River Darent, an important chalk stream supporting local wildlife habitats. Fitting more meters in the area should reduce the amount of water needed to be taken from the boreholes and therefore reduce pressure on the river.

Steve Plumb, Thames Water’s head of metering, said: “We all have a vital role to play in reducing demand for water, but first everyone needs to understand what they are using. That’s why we’re fitting smart meters across our region, starting with Bexley, as by knowing more we can all waste less.

“Metering is the fairest way to pay for water because you pay for what you use, value what you pay for and as a result tend to use water more efficiently.”

Smart water meters use wireless technology to provide accurate readings remotely. The meters will automatically collect water usage data every 15 minutes, giving customers in-depth information to view online on how much water they use.

lan Williams, chairman of the Darent River Preservation Society, said: “We fully support the principle of water metering and other measures to reduce demand. Over the past decade we have worked very hard to restore the River Darent. We have achieved some improvements, and there is still more to be done to ensure this beautiful river remains safe for generations to come.

“The water that supplies our homes and businesses comes from the aquifers that feed the Darent and Cray. Using more water in our homes means less water for the river.”

Thames Water’s metering programme will be carried out borough by borough, with work starting in Bexley from early 2014.

Between February 2014 and March 2015 Thames Water aim to fit 43,000 meters in Bexley homes.

The company will replace 2,000 existing meters in Bexley which were installed before 2010 with new smart meters. The aim is to start rolling this out to flats from April 2015.

By mid-2015, 73 per cent of customers in Bexley will have a water meter – up from 27pc of homes today.

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