Water meter installation underway in Worthing area

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SENIOR reporter Sarah Dale spent a morning with Southern Water to find out about the ongoing metering programme which is currently being carried out in this area.

HOMES in Welland Road and Adur Avenue in Durrington are among those which have already had water meters fitted as part of Southern Water’s ongoing metering programme.

Installation teams are fitting about 10 meters each day, either using an existing hole and screwing in a new meter, or boring a new hole and inserting the meter into the pipework.

Southern Water is keen for the process to be as swift as possible, so residents are alerted to the date their meter will be fitted about two to four weeks before the installation, and each house is given an information pack.

Signs are put up in the streets before and after the teams arrive to alert people to the work, with a blue drip sign being placed on lampposts during the work, and a pink one once the meters have been fitted.

On my visit, I was impressed at the speed and ease meters seem to be fitted. Organised installation teams worked quickly and efficiently to install each meter with as little disruption to residents as possible, before filling in the hole, if one was made, and resurfacing the area. In most cases, it took no more than 45 minutes, if digging was required, for the installation to be complete.

In most places, the pavement was actually left in a better condition than it was before, with plenty of paving slabs available to match the one that needed to be replaced.

Teams work on a street-by-street basis to install the meters and advisers are on hand on the day of installation to answer questions and provide advice on water efficiency, energy savings and metered bills.

The programme will see “intelligent” meters introduced compulsorily for about 92 per cent of homes across Goring, Durrington and Worthing as the company aims to cut water consumption to meet the challenges of climate change and increasing demand. The meters can help detect leaks on supply pipes, and in most cases a Southern Water driver only has to pass a house to get a reading via a 3G signal, rather than ask residents.

While metering does mean some bills will increase, the company, which says charging people for the water they use is the fairest method, is offering tariffs so people can adjust to the change and advice about water saving.

Of the 130,000 meters already fitted across the south, Southern Water said it has only received 25,000 calls from people who have issues, which usually include where the meter will be fitted, or how to access information about their bill.

The water company is also working closely with Sussex Police to minimise the threat of bogus callers taking advantage of the programme. All contractors and Southern Water’s own staff carry identity while on site.

Details of meter installation dates can be found by visting www.southernwater.co.uk