California water utility introduces free smart meter programme
The first 100 residents to sign up to LBWD's smart meter programme will receive free installation

In the US, the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners in California has approved a smart meter programme, awarding the first 100 Long Beach residents to sign up for free smart water meter installation.

The Long Beach Water Department (LBWD) has offered the incentive in a bid to engage customers with advanced metering, reports local newspaper Signal Tribune.

The aim of the rollout is to encourage consumers to track their water usage as well as help the municipal water utility to improve leak detection.

Kevin Wattier, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department, said: "The smart meters will not only help our customers understand their own water consumption better, but they can also help us investigate water violation that have been brought to our attention.

"The new meters will assist Long Beach with our conservation efforts by helping to recognise water waste throughout the city. This technology is a cost-effective way to help us identify the water violations and predict when they will most likely occur."

Platform to connect LBGO smart meters

Similarly to the Long Beach Water Department, the city's resident gas and oil utility is invested in an AMI network.

In January, the municipal utility in California (Long Beach Gas and Oil Department) chose Sensus to supply a smart communications network as a managed service in a bid to boost operational efficiency, customer service and strategic planning.

LBGO reported that it will use Sensus FlexNet network to serve more than 154,000 metered services, 50,000 new Sensus gas meters and managed software services.

The software-as-a-service solution will be used for automatic meter reading, but will also assist LBGO to keep its software and technology  up-to-date with Sensus hosting both the FlexNet head end and meter data management system.

Christopher Garner, department director at LBGO said: "We chose Sensus because the minimal infrastructure of FlexNet enabled us to deploy in three years, but the scalability of Sensus’ technology enables us to benefit from the system for the next 30 years and beyond.

"This [Sensus solution] also saves us the hassle of requesting budget for technology upgrades. We have limited resources for technology support and software upgrades. Hosting mitigates this need."

LBGO's deployment is due for completion in 2016.