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Netherlands’ biggest water utility successfully pilots Sensus remote meter reading technology

A successful pilot of the Sensus FlexNet communication network has been completed by Vitens, the largest water company in the Netherlands.

Vitens provides drinking water to 5.6 million consumers and businesses in the Dutch provinces of Flevoland, Fryslân, Gelderland, Utrecht and Overijssel. Each year, Vitens delivers 350 million m³ of water through 100 water treatment works and 49,000 km of water mains. Recently, the company has faced problems with water meters either located underground or blocked by obstructions such as metal covers.

“We needed a technology solution to address the dangers our employees face when trying to manually read meters in hard-to-reach locations,” said Rik Thijssen, manager of business development for Vitens, in a press release from Sensus. “The data from meter readings is essential to manage and optimise our distribution network, so reliability and coverage of the network were the priorities.”

The water utility decided upon the Sensus FlexNet communication network to remotely read hard to reach meters, saving its engineers from having to work in unsafe conditions. It was also believed that the Sensus system would improve operational efficiency by providing actual, rather than estimated metre readings.

According to the press release, the FlexNet system uses a dedicated, licensed spectrum which is protected against interference from other networks and devices.

“Immediately after 100% of the water meters were installed and connected to the FlexNet system, Vitens was able to collect data,” said Tom Mills, director of smart water EMEA at Sensus. “Demonstrating its superior reach, the network successfully read meters located underground, beneath a metal cover and even at a distance of five kilometres.”