Glenorchy, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- April 5, 2011 - The controversial rollout of water meters across Southern Tasmania commenced yesterday, with every unmetered property to receive a water meter with automated meter reading (AMR) technology.

Skilltech Consulting Services, a national firm which specializes in installing water meters, has deployed a workforce of around 60 – mostly local plumbers and trades assistants – to install around 60,000 water meters.

“This is an exciting milestone which is vital and necessary for the introduction of a fairer pricing system in mid-2012”, said Southern Water’s CEO, Mike Paine. “When Southern Water was created, we inherited 150 different pricing tariffs with fundamentally different pricing principles. These will be replaced by the much fairer two-part pricing, which allows customers to pay a fixed fee which contributes to pipes, treatment plants and dams, and a variable fee allows people to pay only for the water they use.”

The project is valued at Au$30 million, including an Au$5 million grant from the Australian government’s Water for the Future initiative through the National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns program.

Southern Water plans to complete the rollout of meters into unmetered residential and business properties by mid-2012. The company will then inspect and replace up to 26,000 existing water meters which are already in place across the region.

Southern Water is one of three companies rolling out water meters across Tasmania, the other companies being Ben Lomond Water and Cradle Mountain Water. However, the project has run into opposition from members of the public, who contend that the state has an abundance of water.