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MeterGuy

join:2014-09-01

Cost of smart meters vs analog meters

I'm a regular, posting with this account for privacy purposes.

The small town I live in is installing electronic "smart" meters to replace old analog water meters. I've done some math and can't see how this is cost-effective.

The cost of the project over three years is $1,275,000. (The town hasn't published the costs to operate the system after three years.) There are 2,800 meters. Therefore we can calculate the cost per meter is $455.36.

Utilities are billed every month. The meters have a lifespan of 15-20 years. Conservatively assuming 20 years, at 12 reads/year * 20 years we can calculate that the meter will be read 240 times during its life.

$455.36/meter / 240 reads/meter = $1.90/read.

Now let's compare this to the cost of a human walking from house to house and reading the meter that way. Assuming the human is paid $20/hour, we can calculate that if the human can read 11 meters in an hour, which I think would be relatively easy, the human costs less than the smart meters.

Given this information, why would a municipality decide to upgrade to smart meters? What am I not considering that makes the project a good idea?


donoreo
Premium
join:2002-05-30
North York, ON

2 recommendations

They can bill more. Short answer. Long answer is they can bill more during different times of the day.

gbwalsh

join:2010-07-25
Burlington, ON

1 recommendation

reply to MeterGuy
Well first $20 an hour seems low when you add in pension costs, benefits.

And secondly the reason that smart meters are installed here is to have the ability to charge you more at peak times all in the name of saving the environment.

Where I live they still have to come every billing cycle to read the water meter so it doesn't save that cost at all.


joeblow3

join:2000-12-27
London, ON

1 recommendation

reply to MeterGuy
Replacing your "water" meter witha smart meter? Are you sure it's the water meter and not your eletrical meter?

Never heard of utiities using smart meters for water.

If it's the electrical meter then it makes sense they replace it. It is mandated by the provincial government.

Nitra

join:2011-09-15
Montreal

1 recommendation



Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4

1 recommendation

Yeah we have smart water meters here in Fort Erie. They installed one in our current home two months ago but my last house and the store have had them for a while now. The only difference is now instead of alternating between an actual read and an estimate every other month it's an actual read every month.


urbanriot
Premium
join:2004-10-18
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Cogeco Cable

1 recommendation

reply to gbwalsh
said by gbwalsh:

And secondly the reason that smart meters are installed here is to have the ability to charge you more at peak times all in the name of saving the environment.

What, there's peak water usage times now!?
Expand your moderator at work

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON

1 recommendation

reply to urbanriot

Re: Cost of smart meters vs analog meters

Probably and next will be peek natural gas and then peek gasoline and food and tv viewing and the air you breath and ....


A Lurker
that's Ms Lurker btw
Premium
join:2007-10-27
Wellington N

1 recommendation

reply to gbwalsh
said by gbwalsh:

Well first $20 an hour seems low when you add in pension costs, benefits.

Also, maintaining a vehicle or paying mileage to the person read them.

Where I last lived I was never home when the person read the meter. I would always have to call it in. At one point they wanted to upgrade to one that could be read from outside the home. Great idea except... I had a pool and had to keep the gates locked. They didn't want to take a key either. Glad that my gas meter is outside the fence here. Water is currently not metered.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
reply to urbanriot
said by urbanriot:

What, there's peak water usage times now!?

No, they just no longer need to send someone to read your meter.


urbanriot
Premium
join:2004-10-18
Canada
kudos:3
We still have people come in St. Catharines, except now they come inside and I haven't thought to ask why...


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2

2 recommendations

reply to MeterGuy
We have had remote read meters for twenty years. They are more efficient in that the meter reader does not have to physically see the meter, just touch a probe to the external read pad. A meter reader can thus move more quickly and read more meters. With contracting out, fewer readers are also needed. As for TOU water pricing! I doubt it. What we get is a sewage charge of 125% of the water metered charge, proving that the city can truly get you coming and going.
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.

MeterGuy

join:2014-09-01
reply to A Lurker
said by A Lurker:

Where I last lived I was never home when the person read the meter.

I can see how that would be problematic. As it is, the system they are replacing (in my specific case) can already be read from outside the home.

btech805

join:2013-08-01
Greely, ON
kudos:11

1 recommendation

reply to MeterGuy
Municipalities will soon introduce "peak" usage like hydro. Glad im on a well and obtained the land patent to the mineral rights on my property. Good luck sticking a meter on my house.

I can't see gas being far behind in all of this. Speaking of which my gas meter is broken and enbridge has been out four times each guy saying the meter is broken and is ordering a part and nothing yet. I received a $600 credit one month then a $600 bill thats when I called and they said something was messed up
--
My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions or wishes of BCE or any of it's subsidiaries.


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2
said by btech805:

Municipalities will soon introduce "peak" usage like hydro.

Evidence?
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
reply to btech805
said by btech805:

Municipalities will soon introduce "peak" usage like hydro.

No they won't. And they won't for gas, either. There are reasons why peak timing makes sense for hydro, and those reasons do not extend to water or gas.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
reply to DKS
said by DKS:

We have had remote read meters for twenty years. They are more efficient in that the meter reader does not have to physically see the meter, just touch a probe to the external read pad. A meter reader can thus move more quickly and read more meters. With contracting out, fewer readers are also needed. As for TOU water pricing! I doubt it. What we get is a sewage charge of 125% of the water metered charge, proving that the city can truly get you coming and going.

We've had remote read meters for just as long. The new meters are completely wireless, meaning they don't even need someone to come out with a probe to do the read.

peterboro
Avatars are for posers
Premium
join:2006-11-03
Peterborough, ON
reply to Gone
said by Gone:

said by btech805:

Municipalities will soon introduce "peak" usage like hydro.

No they won't. And they won't for gas, either. There are reasons why peak timing makes sense for hydro, and those reasons do not extend to water or gas.

Who said they need a practical reason for peek usage metrics to find a way to gouge customers.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
The cost of each individual municipality to implement their own billing system to handle it would be reason alone for it to never happen. The hydro companies would have never done it either if the province didn't force them into it.


elwoodblues
Elwood Blues
Premium
join:2006-08-30
Somewhere in
kudos:2
reply to btech805
Buddy of mine lives on the outskirts of Bobcaygeon. He had a well, "Kwaratha lakes" forced him to go on 'town water'
--
My Name is Wiley E Coyote, Super Genius


Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
Reviews:
·Bell Sympatico
reply to MeterGuy
Anyone seen a smart gas (natural gas) meter or at least a remote pad for monitoring the meter (often seen with water meters)? I ask because mine is very much out of the way to get to and maintaining a pathway to get to it in the snow is a real PITA.

Smart meters are about profit generation, nothing else.

markf

join:2008-01-24
Burlington, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·WIND Mobile
·ELECTRONICBOX
·Execulink Telecom

1 recommendation

reply to MeterGuy
Peak water and gas usage makes no sense because they store gas and water (can "produce" at a consistent rate that accounts for average needs rather than hydro that is a produce and use immediately commodity) .

Where pricing could come into play would be charging more during water restrictions and that sort of thing.

They would also have up to date data on how much water is coming out of meters and how much they are sending out, which might be useful in determining leakage from the system.

A smart gas meter would help when rates change mid-billing cycle. You'd be charged the exact amounts rather than average x number of days in each different price period.

Someone mentioned peak food prices. We already have that in fresh food based on supply and demand. Peaches in August and September are a lot cheaper than February when supply is more restricted. Prices go higher when supply is down, around holidays, etc.

btech805

join:2013-08-01
Greely, ON
kudos:11
reply to elwoodblues
Like I said, ive obtained the lands patent right to the minerals and resources below my property, which you have to physically apply for from the province, so the municipality can never meter or charge me for my water. Unless of course they pipe in a sewer and tear up my road.

As for reasoning for peak usage they dont need one. Hydro does it and has absolutely no reason for it now. They say it promotes conservation of energy but every time we conserve electricity in this province it gets sold to the states and Quebec at a loss, so it would be cheaper for us to be using more electricity than saving it. Right now it costs us on average of $4M/day to sell excess power because we're conserving energy and peak usage is designed to conserve even more energy. So no, a municipality doesn't need a scientific reason for doing so, the Liberals certainly didn't.
--
My opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions or wishes of BCE or any of it's subsidiaries.


walterdees

@206.47.249.x
reply to DKS
the reason your water utility is switching to smart meters is not only to eliminate manual meter readings, but to completely remove the estimated reads from the billing system it cost them more in the long run to keep estimating and adjusting.


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2
reply to Thane_Bitter
said by Thane_Bitter:

Anyone seen a smart gas (natural gas) meter or at least a remote pad for monitoring the meter (often seen with water meters)? I ask because mine is very much out of the way to get to and maintaining a pathway to get to it in the snow is a real PITA.

Smart meters are about profit generation, nothing else.

We have a smart meter at work. The supplier is Union Gas. I have a remote read water meter at home and at work.
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2
reply to btech805
said by btech805:

As for reasoning for peak usage they dont need one. Hydro does it and has absolutely no reason for it now. They say it promotes conservation of energy but every time we conserve electricity in this province it gets sold to the states and Quebec at a loss, so it would be cheaper for us to be using more electricity than saving it.

Smart meters and peak usage rates are simply a form of social engineering intended to shift load.
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2
reply to MeterGuy
Click for full size
Union Gas smart meter


BonezX
Basement Dweller
Premium
join:2004-04-13
Canada
kudos:1
that looks like a real safe install(sarcasm), DKS does it feel solid if you push on it ?


Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
reply to DKS
Interesting they do exist, thanks. I will have to inquire if I could get one installed so it can be read from the other end of the house (with all the other utilities).