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Will smart meters create a water smart public?

March 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Recently, CTV-BC posted an article addressing the public’s concerns regarding their increasing water bills – an increase they felt was an error attributed to their new smart meter that was obviously broken. BC Hydro listed many reasons for the increase including weather and consumption patterns.

Many of the people commenting on the article have taken the “it’s a money grab” perspective on smart metering. Several articles/blogs have been published discussing that perspective and the overall North American sense of entitlement to inexpensive and unlimited drinking water. There is a burden on municipalities and utility operators to change that mindset to justify moving money into budgets for the repair and replacement of their aging water infrastructure. However, for every article pressuring the public to conserve water and contribute their fair share, there is another article explaining that public water consumption is a small drop in the bucket compared to industrial and agricultural usage – one step forward, two steps back.

Yes, there are large water users such as corporations and industries that need to think about how they use water. But large users are managed and operated by individuals so if the water industry can get individuals thinking about water conservation and more importantly, water VALUE, then these individuals can change the behaviours of corporations and industries. And maybe getting the individuals thinking about how they budget their water usage via smart meters may help that process… if only we can get them past the sticker shock.

Until then, utilities will have to keep optimizing their budgets by making good decisions with good information.

Categories: Commentary, Water Tags: ,