New smart water meters are being rolled out throughout the Cairns region starting in Palm Cove, as Phase 1 from 2019.
- Why are we changing meters?
As part of our Cairns Water Security Strategy ( PDF, 0.1 MB ), recognising that water is one of our most valuable resources, managing our water supplies to meet growing demand over the next 30 years is a priority for Cairns Regional Council. This project will make a significant contribution to our water security by reducing water loss caused by leaks.
- What are Smart Water Meters?
Smart water meters use wireless technology to record water usage data which will be collected more frequently and more accurately without having to physically read the meter. The collection of data on a near real-time basis improves the ability to identify any unusual activity such as water loss or reduction in water supply.
- How do they work?
The chosen smart metering solution is a Long Range low power wireless device utilising long life batteries, which transfer frequent and accurate daily data to software systems to store this information for billing purposes. All data collected is encrypted and held on secure systems in accordance to national privacy principles.
- Will the new meters affect my bill?
Smart water meters have a high level of accuracy when recording usage therefore some customers may identify change in the recording of their overall water usage by comparison to the reads taken from the current meters. All the new smart meters are tested for accuracy prior to installation, and during the testing phase both manual and wireless reads will be undertaken to ensure consistency. Your water usage bill will still be issued every four months.
- What are the benefits to me?
Your current water meter is read manually by a contractor every four months, providing Council with a one off read of how much water has been used for billing purposes. Once the system is operational, the smart water meter provides Council with daily data which will help us to help you quickly identify leaks, enable more timely repairs to better manage your water usage and save you money.
- Accessing your usage data
As part of the project Council will also be developing a customer portal which will allow users to access their own water usage data online. Once the regional installation program is complete, information about the customer portal, when it will be available, what it will offer and how you can access it will be provided.
- Have these meters been used elsewhere?
While they have been used in many countries throughout the world, Cairns Regional Council will be the first in Australia to use this particularly state of the art technology throughout their entire residential meter fleet.
- Are the meters safe?
Yes. Your new smart water meter has very low electromagnetic levels, using just 25mW power emission. Mobile phones use 80 times more (2,000mW), while Wi-Fi uses four times more (l00mW).
- What happens if the meter is damaged or flooded?
There is no change to current protocols for repairs to meters and remains as per Cairns Regional Council Local Law No.14 (Town Water). The new Smart Meters are waterproof and should still continue to operate and relay reads if underwater during a flooding incident.
- Will i be charged for the new meter?
There will be no charge to you for the cost of the new replacement smart meter or its installation. The outcomes will have long-term cost savings to Council and rate payers over the next 20 years.