Utilties companies are tasked with delivering energy and water to thousands of homes and businesses, accurately measuring usage, and keeping up with aging or outdated infrastructure, all while turning a profit. While juggling all of these plates, it can seem nearly impossible to ensure consistent and dependable service while maximizing ROI. That’s where IoT can help. Through utilities equipment management solutions, managers can gain better visibility into how their equipment is performing, usage trends, and better plan for maintenance to avoid outages.
The management of utilities equipment has traditionally been a highly manual and error-prone process. Manual meter readers may mis-read meters on regular inspections, miss equipment failures, or may find that meters are inaccessible – leading to large gaps in usage information. This process is already time-consuming and costly when it works, but when it fails? Customers may be surprised with bills in the thousands.
In 2018, the city of San Diego, CA found that 2,750 water bills sent to San Diego Residents in 2017 were incorrect, resulting in an average overcharge of about 65 percent with some residents receiving bills of up to $2,000. Worse yet? 71 percent of those errors were committed by ten of their 36 meter readers.
Misread or unmanaged meters not only cause a loss of revenue for utility companies and additional headaches for their customers, but mistakes can also result in equipment failures and leaks going unnoticed, causing thousands of dollars in property damage.
Utilities equipment management solutions can track and record the equipment’s age, usage, and maintenance history. By providing managers a top-down view of how equipment is performing, they can schedule maintenance before equipment starts to fail and predict the long-term needs of equipment and systems.
Utilities equipment management solutions are just one part of what makes a Smart Grid. These solutions gather and manage data collected from smart meters in order to gain a large-scale view of how individual meters and systems are performing and see usage trends. Collecting data helps bring errors into view before they become costly and enables managers to prevent equipment failure by optimizing maintenance schedules and preventing outages.