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By Tommy Combs, Director of Operations, Bermex
The trend toward smart metering continues to expand across the globe. By 2026, the Smart Water Management global market is expected to grow to 22.4 billion from 13.8 billion in 2021. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2020 alone, electric utilities installed about 102.9 million advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meters. As utilities rush to streamline ways to deliver power, gas, and water to their communities, its demand to drive efficiencies propels the need for greater data and analytics. One big, overlooked area in this urgency to modernize metering are the boots on the ground to make it happen. This is where Bermex leads the way with the best teams dedicated to quality and customer service. As 2022 marks 50 years in business for Bermex, we celebrate our history built on trust and dedication.
Originally published Smart Water Management Market by Water Meter (AMR, AMI), Solution (Enterprise Asset Management, Network Management, Smart Irrigation), Service (Professional, Managed), End User (Commercial & Industrial, Residential), and Region – Global Forecast to 2026
Change often breeds fear of the uncertain. It can make people nervous about the unknown or potential failures from a new process or competency needed. For metering manufacturing companies, they are experts in making meters. What they typically don’t have the skillset for is the management of people. That’s where we come in. We pride ourselves on managing people and our diverse workforce dispersed nationwide. To be successful here, you must be dedicated to customer service, unhindered by hard work, and fit to do the job. Bermex has all the traits necessary to provide a successful transition to smart metering.
By now, we have all read about the bipartisan $1 trillion-plus Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed in August of 2021. In it is funding to strengthen our grid and infuse smart technologies. This will impact the industries we serve. For our metering customers, it means the push for installing smart meters on both customer houses and businesses. This shift to new technologies will optimize how power is provided and energy is consumed. It will push to balance energy, reducing outages and increasing efficiencies.
Smart meters are significant in the updating of our nation’s grid system. Upgrading smart grid infrastructure to include advanced metering systems can be a tedious process. Moving from old metering technology to new advanced metering technology means improved customer service, increased accuracy, and timely data for our clients. For our employees, this means the opportunity for new areas of business. Mass meter deployments can be a sizable undertaking, including making sure our employees are properly trained and qualified so the jobs we do are completed safely and correctly every time.
No matter how “smart” a meter is, there are still things that can happen on and around the meter when meter readers are no longer visiting the sites monthly to document and correct issues. Gas, electric, and water meters are all prone to tampering, vegetation overgrowth, or a myriad of other issues once the transition to smart metering has transpired. Our team specializes in visually inspecting these services on a flexible service schedule to ensure utility assets remain safe and compliant.
When our employees are in the field inspecting meters, they’re conducting leak and atmospheric corrosion surveys, analyzing meters so they are performing at their best. Our expert employees are empowered to fix issues on the spot and make sure the meters are safe and compliant. For atmospheric issues, employees document concerns, apply appropriate weather and moisture-resistant paint, and apply a meter sticker and apartment number if applicable. If the equipment cannot be repaired, we file a ticket with the utility. For leak surveys, employees use equipment to scan the service line to the meter to determine if a leak is present. The information is logged, and data is captured within our work order management software. Data we collect includes a geotag location, a picture of the meter, and any data collected about the survey. This ensures increased efficiency, safety, and data integrity is paramount in everything we do.
Our employees are dedicated, often working long hours with little room for error. With this new push for smart systems, the need for more skilled workers will increase. This means higher-paying jobs within the metering services industry. Now, not only will we continue to be the boots on the ground doing fieldwork, but we will also be the eyes on many smart meters, ensuring their proper function. According to a 2019 Edison Foundation report, nearly 70% of U.S. households had smart meters installed by the end of 2018. That number is only going to increase over the next few years with a greater need for the field staff to deploy new systems, calibrate the new meters, monitor the meters after installation, and fix any issues.
Since 1972, we’ve been working towards providing the best solutions by reducing our clients’ costs and minimizing customer complaints. We work with gas, electric, and water utility companies to design a plan that best fits the challenges you’re facing.