GWCL introduces smart meters to enhance efficiency
The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has stated that it is transitioning from mechanical metering to smart metering as part of plans to digitise its operations.
Already, the GWCL has installed 80,000 smart meters in the last 18 months.
Also, drones will be deployed to conduct meter reading within 15 minutes from a 500-metre range.
“The smart metering comes with remote reading of meters, which reduces customers’ interactions with meter readers. Meters will be read more accurately,” the Managing Director of the GWCL, Clifford Abdallai Braimah, said at a media briefing in Accra yesterday[August 10, 2022].
The media briefing, which was dubbed, “Accounting to our customers” was to make public, the operations of the GWCL and provide an avenue for the public to interact with GWCL operators.
After the briefing, there was an exhibition where the regional offices across the country mounted booths to showcase the various projects and operations being undertaken in their respective areas of operation.
The GWCL also launched a Water Safety Policy at the event to guide and to ensure that its regional operators produced safe drinking water.
Dr Braimah explained that the devices employed included a converter and a smart mobile phone which transmitted data via Bluetooth through a common medium known as the “READy” software.
He said the drone deployment would ensure the safety of meter readers, while enhancing speed in the overall meter reading exercise.
The managing director added that plans were underway to digitise new service connection processes where customers could apply for new service connections from their convenience and monitor its progress using a mobile app.
Dr Braimah indicated that the electronic billing and payment systems introduced in 2015 to reduce billing errors and make payments easier had increased revenue from GH₵1.7 million in 2017 to GH₵13.2 million in 2018 and also increased astronomically to GH₵64.3 million in 2021.
“Currently, monthly average revenues realised from electronic payment stands at GH₵9.3 million and is expected to rise to GH₵11.1 million by the end of 2022.
“As of the second quarter of 2022, revenues from electronic payment constituted 10.4 per cent of GWCL’s total collections from water bill payments,” he added.
The managing director emphasised that the payment of water bills through the GWCL Customer Application did not attract the electronic levy (E-Levy) and, therefore, urged customers to opt for it.
Dr Braimah explained that the GWCL had also introduced asset inventory and leakage mapping systems, where 10,000 kilometres of network had been mapped onto the Geographic Information System to improve pipe replacement programmes.
He said 662km of mains extensions had also been laid throughout the country to augment water supply.
In addition, he said, Km of distribution network improvement works were carried out at a cost of $6.5 million.
Dr Braimah added that 14 Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVRs) had been installed at a cost of GH₵12.3 million at the worst affected systems to mitigate the impact of unstable power.
He mentioned Illegal mining and sand winning activities, frequent power outages, vandalisation of transmission pipelines and illegal connections as some of the challenges the company faced.
However, Dr Braimah indicated that in the face of the challenges, the company had been able to replace and install pumps, bulk and commercial meters to enhance accurate reading and billing while expanding several water treatment plants and constructing new ones.
With the issue of illegal connection, the Director in Charge of Operation and Maintenance at the GWCL, Francis Kwesi Awortwe, said they were working with the National Security to treat illegal connection as a national security threat since persons who engaged in such illegalities exposed the pipeline to contamination.
He said offenders would also be named and shamed and also made to pay all arrears as part of the punitive measures to curb illegal connections.