Smart Meter Management

Sebata iRead Management System

The Sebata iRead™ management system, which was developed and is maintained in-house, facilitates the reading and recording of meter data in the field on behalf of clients. It involves the use of cellphone technology to record and transmit readings in real time to a central database. An integrity check against the database is performed and the results are transmitted back to the phone, either accepting or rejecting the reading. All this happens in a matter of seconds thereby increasing the performance of meter readers and ultimately generating additional income for the municipality or utility. The system’s main functions, which form an efficient and effective solution, are:

  • Data collection
  • Data validation

    Meterman™ Mobile – data collection
    This enables the real-time collection of data from the field to our performance monitoring system in cases where there is limited or no cellphone signal; our mobile devices can accommodate offline readings, mimicking a hand-held device. Readers keep the mobile devices with them at all times, as there is no need to collect recording devices, and upload reading routes at a physical office.

  • Sebata Meterman Web - data validation

    This web application can be integrated with most financial systems. The required route or routes can be loaded into the system with ease. The application allows the client to monitor and manage the meter-reading process effectively and efficiently. The web system requires a secure username and password.
    Sebata Meterman Web has a dashboard view, allowing the department manager to assess the reading progress, and reader performance, at a glance.
    It also has a route management console (RMC), which gives the head of department an overview of the current "live" status of the meter readings being taken in the field, or taken earlier that day, which highlights the following:

      • Date and time reading route was created
      • Date and time reading route was request by meter reader
      • Date and time reader returned the completed route
      • Time each reading was taken
      • Route planning
      • Reading percentage completed and number of no accesses
      • Back-office management status

Departments are now able to complete and monitor the monthly reading programme progress as scheduled, identify the meter reader and the date on which the identified meter reader must read a specific reading route.
Other modules and additional benefits include a geographic information system (GIS) representation of meter locations and other information. The mobile technology also allows readers to capture images of meters which are damaged, possibly tampered with and which have an illegal connection. The reader thus facilitates not only the meter reading and recording, but also an audit and a documented report for possible company losses. 

Reading Validation Module
This module checks actual versus recorded data validity, and forms part of the first data-cleansing process. The reader, after submitting his completed route, can wait at the reading route while the administrative staff review his daily work quality, and can issue re-readings instantly. Reports available are, but not limited to:

      • Audit report - recording all actions on the system
      • Daily extract - reading performance and meter issues
      • Meter details search
      • New meter report
      • No readings -  review meters with no reading and error codes
      • Reader performance - review the performance of the readers
      • Reading analysis - review reading and consumption patterns
      • Reading detail - review and export the entire reading cycle information

    • Benefits

      • Real-time monitoring of meter reading, management software and GIS
      • Android technology
      • Ensures timeous billing, increase in revenue
      • Consumer satisfaction through accurate readings with photographic evidence
      • SMS functionality to advise consumers of their readings as routes are read
      • Archiving to ensure data is always available
      • Meter information reports

Sebata Pre-Paid Water Solution

Utility Systems has developed the world’s first commercially available pre-payment water metering system approved by the Standard Transfer Specification (STS) Association and which conforms to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 62055-41 and 62055-51 standards.

The Utility Systems pre-payment metering system is not proprietary token- or card-based, but is based on an open architecture approach founded on these IEC standards, which have global application. This standard is used in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Having an open architecture system means that water service providers who acquire it are not locked into a proprietary system and dependent on one supplier, but can, in future, purchase metering products and implement vending systems from any other manufacturer whose products conform to the same standards. This ensures that prices remain keen, and that suppliers are constantly challenged to provide the best and the most cost-effective technology.

The STS approach adopted by Utility Systems allows for multiple vending options through a wide variety of STS-compliant vendors. The Utility Systems pre-payment metering system also incorporates a radio frequency and global system for mobile communications (GSM)-based data and command transfer system, enabling two-way communication between the water service provider and the meter, a feature not available in most pre-payment water systems.


Water Management Device (WMD)

The Utility Systems WMD contains an electronically controlled valve and microprocessor with embedded firmware that enables it, when connected to a pulse output water meter, to perform a number of metering functions in addition to those usually associated with a pre-payment metering system.

  • Features

    • Monitors and controls water consumption
    • Has a short-range radio used to communicate with the user interface unit (UIU), the data collector, or the field service terminal (FST)
    • Logs and stores water consumption data over an extended period
    • Stores a log of cumulative month-end consumption data suitable for billing purposes
    • Detects and warns of possible consumer-side leaks
    • Detects tampering

User Interface Unit (UIU)

This is the remote display unit installed within the consumer’s home that provides the gateway into the WMD installed outside the premises. The function of the UIU is to:

  • Remotely display the meter reading as reflected by the WMD
  • Display remaining allocation available to the consumer
  • Allow for pre-payment top-up/credit token entry
  • Provide various alarms for the consumer, such as leak and tampering
  • Display the WMD serial number

Pre-Payment/Top-Up Credit Vending

In many cases municipalities and other water service providers want to provide the consumer with the ability to purchase credit themselves, without having to have the meter read and a bill sent out, or what is commonly referred to as pre-payment metering.

The WMD is based on the STS Association standard and regulates the manner in which a 20-digit token is to be issued

The implementation of an STS-based pre-payment system allows for:

  • The consumer having full control of their specific water needs
  • The deployment of a non-proprietary vending infrastructure
  • Internet-based vending
  • The use of existing third-party vending infrastructure which, provided the relevant commercial contracts are in place, could include:
    • A current STS electricity vending station including XMLVend-based vending platforms
    • An independent vendor, such as EasyPay or Blue Label Technologies
    • Internet vending
    • Points of sale
    • Cellphone/SMS-based vending