This project, carried out by Frontier Economics and Artesia, commissioned by Arqiva, evaluated the benefits and costs of a smart metering programme, exploring the balance of costs and benefits at the national level, as well as for individual water companies and regions.
Key findings in the report include:
Compared to current metering plans, our modelling shows that a co-ordinated roll-out of WSM in the period 2025 to 2030 would deliver benefits of £4.4 billion compared to costs of £2.5 billion. Therefore it achieves net benefits of close to £1.9 billion.
The positive investment case for water smart metering includes reduced carbon emissions.
The cost of rolling out smart metering would be more than offset by savings on leakage control, savings from lower operational costs, network management and by avoiding the need for other water resources.
The study shows a positive benefits-to-cost ratio in all areas of England and Wales. The highest ratio is in the South-East and East of England and reflects higher existing meter penetration and greater water scarcity in those areas
Smart water metering delivers the highest return when households are moved onto a metered charging basis within 3 years of installation. Even where this is not the case, smart water metering still delivers a positive benefit-to-cost ratio.
This positive return on investment would reduce total costs incurred by water companies, which should enable reduced bills for households over time.
The report was launched at a Smart Water Metering event organised by Waterwise on 23 November. Rob Francis, from Frontier Economics and Rob Lawson, from Artesia, presented the findings of the research to an audience of key industry stakeholders.
Rob Lawson, Director at Artesia, said: “These findings make a clear social and environmental case for smart water metering. While the responsibility for planning and their delivery sits with individual water companies, these companies work within a regulatory framework shaped by the government, Environment Agency, and Ofwat, and all these organisations must come together to ensure that the universal benefits of smart water metering are supported and encouraged.”
The summary report can be downloaded here
The main project report can be downloaded here