Meter reassurances

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FOLLOWING a recent article in the Worthing Herald and Worthing Advertiser featuring a customer’s concern about the water meters currently being installed by Southern Water, I would like to reassure your readers that we take health and safety issues very seriously.

The meters we are installing in Sussex are “intelligent” and are the most advanced to be used in the water industry.

They include the latest Automated Meter Reading (AMR) wireless technology, which allows us to read them remotely under a “drive by” approach using a specially equipped vehicle. This means we can read thousands of meters each day, compared to a few hundred at present and put an end to estimated bills.

The model of meter we are installing was chosen following a thorough and detailed selection process, which looked at all aspects of its performance, including safety and reliability.

The transmissions of the new water meters are very low-powered and substantially below any recognised thresholds that could potentially cause harm.

They are not smart meters as they do not contain the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology required for two-way communication between the meter and the central billing system; they are automatic meter readers containing Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) technology only.

The meters are ISO 4064 accredited by the British Standards Institute. The signal frequency is 868MHz, with a strength of 0.01 µw\cm². The World Health Organisation allows 450 µw\cm²; and Wi-Fi networks are in the region of 100 µw\cm². This means that the emissions from our meters are around 10,000 times less powerful than from a home Wi-Fi network.

We are installing 500,000 new water meters across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent by 2015 to help ensure we can continue to supply a region officially defined as ‘water stressed’.

The majority of the new meters are being installed in the public footpath immediately outside a customer’s property, with a small proportion needing to be installed inside properties, normally in the kitchen or bathroom.

Readers can find out more about our metering programme at www.southernwater.co.uk/metering.

Darren Bentham

director of universal

metering rogramme

Southern Water