Water retailers line up for new United Utilities meter reading service

A non-household meter reading service set up by United Utilities is proving to be a big hit with water retailers.

The North West water firm has signed up its fifth retailer since taking its entire meter reading function back in house last December.

The latest contract, which went live earlier this year, means that more than 90 per cent of non-household meters in the North West are now being read by United Utilities. At least two more potential clients are already in discussion.

United Utilities’ Danielle Mather said the company had invested heavily in cutting edge technology to insource household metering and subsequently launched a chargeable service for non-household customers after listening to the needs of the water retail market.

“With our geo-routing functionality we can align both household and non-household meter reading, making it a really efficient service and we are able to reflect these synergies in our pricing,” commented Danielle.

“We are looking to add more value and efficiency in future. For example, we are planning to offer a “bilateral service” where we will act as an agent of the retailer where meters are in need of repair or replacement. This will help speed up the process and improve the non-household customer journey still further.”

Water Plus is one of the retailers working with United Utilities.

Jamie Gibson, Head of Operational Strategy at Water Plus, said: “Our partnership with United Utilities is increasing how efficiently we’re working to update customer account information and increase the number of meter reads we receive as a business. Regular meter readings help to keep customer account information and bills updated and reduce the need to estimate water use. It also allows organisations to spot water issues early to take actions to limit future costs.

“As part of enhancements we’re making, we’re introducing additional technology and improving our processes to not only increase the amount of meters we’re reading but working to apply the readings to customer accounts more quickly than in the past. The technology United Utilities is using will help to increase the number of meter reads we’ll receive, as part of the planned cycle, and reduce the number of skip notifications a water retailer can see during this work. This means we’re seeing more meter reads in time for customer bills, updating their water usage for their site.

“We’ve also been increasing awareness and highlighting the importance of regular meter reads, ideally each month, for organisations, if they’re safe to access, – and seen an increase in the number of meter reads submitted online this year, along with more customers submitting more reads more regularly.”