Following the announcement of the Unified Smart Metering System (USMS), a new smart metering solution combining water and electricity under a single account, to be rolled out to homes and commercial premises in phases over the next five years, commercial users and members of the public shared their opinions with the Bulletin.
A member of the public, Mira said the Department of Water Services must confirm that the meter installed at each house or business is only used by the occupants and the location of installation must be witnessed by the authorities and the meter owner.
“Owners should not be asked to pay based on past readings such as taking the average consumption of when they are on holiday and when there is nobody home,” she said.
Meanwhile, Adibah, who supports the digitalisation initiative, believes relevant parties need to be well prepared.
“The Department of Water Services must provide guidelines on the meter. If there are water disruptions, the readings on the meter should stop. If it continues to run, the public must be able to lodge a complaint,” she said.
Another public member said main supply pumps need to be upgraded before the implementation of the new meter system, and resources must be allocated to maintaining the pumps. He added, “Relevant parties must consider relocating the pumps if the site is located in a flood-prone area.”
He also advised the public to repair any pipe leakages or loose pipes in their homes ahead of the new system.
A commercial user said the new meter system will ease monitoring and managing of utility use, especially for companies with diverse operations.
Meanwhile, some consumers raised the matter of discoloured water supply or water disruptions and wondered if there would be allowances for situations beyond their control.
“There have also been incidents of pipe leakage but the source was not identified and the meter kept running, leading to the household incurring a massive BND1,000 bill. They had to seek consideration from the department to pay in installments. These issues need to be resolved before going digital.”
The USMS has a two-way com-munication module to send and receive near real time data from the smart electrical meter using 3G/4G SIM cards and consumers will be able to receive near real time information, perform instant top-ups and view top-up history, track usage pattern and manage their financial commitments.
Consumers will also be able to access the information via the self-care portal at www.usms.com.bn and through a mobile application.