Here is a five-week series we are currently posting on social media, discussing some of the misconceptions about PAYGO water systems. We wanted to unearth some of the inaccuracies and clarify them.
Misconception No. 1
PAYGO Systems Can Be Complex to Implement
Obviously the digitalisation of a water utility is not straightforward and requires organisation adaptation. There are opportunities but there are significant barriers too, despite the fact that digital solutions can enable better management and distribution of water resources in the long-term (tackling non-revenue water, shortages in water resources, and the need to deliver more for less, as well as climate change).
CityTaps proposes to work alongside water utilities, not just to supply the technology, but to support and improve operations for the foreseeable future. CityTaps accompanies utilities through their digital transformation, providing full training of how to install the smart water meters and radio gateways, using the software and preparing teams for the future. The installation of our meters is very simple, requiring no specific tools or knowledge, and our software is intuitive and user-friendly. It’s a win-win for utilities and subscribers!
Misconception No. 2
Meter Readers Could Lose Their Jobs With Smart PAYGO Solutions
With smart PAYGO systems in place, it is likely that traditional meter readers will no longer be required to “make their rounds” to visually read water meters one by one. Utilities, however, will be able to benefit from the unique ‘in the field’ knowledge of their meter readers, as well as their customer knowledge, for higher value-added jobs. And with regular updates by SMS and WhatsApp, utilities will be able to keep close relationships with their customers.
With training from the utilities and smart meter solution providers, meter readers will be able to take on new roles and perform new duties. These will include field tasks as varied as immediate leak repairs, meter fraud verification, inaccurate meter replacement, and radio network maintenance.
In the long term, it means more skilled positions with less exposure to the tough field environment, and a win-win for utilities and water meter readers, establishing a more inclusive environment and offering new opportunities for staff.
Misconception No. 3
Smart PAYGO Products May Fail in Harsh Outdoor Environments
Unlike most smart PAYGO water meters that have been designed primarily for indoor installation in building shafts, CityTaps’ solution has been developed specifically for harsh outdoor environments. This means our smart meters can be installed in sub-Saharan countries and function in direct sunlight exposure, high peak temperatures and even fine desert dust. CityTaps’ projects in Niger, Kenya, Senegal and Burkina Faso have positively proven that our solution works well in these kinds of environments.
Misconception No. 4
Water Service Providers Could Lose Contact with Their Customers
With traditional water meter systems, utilities in developing countries generally organise just one visit every 1 to 3 months to see subscribers, to read their meters, and manage payments. With CityTaps’ CTSuite, there is constant communication between the utility and the subscriber - almost on a daily basis. And, even better, the subscriber and utility can both check the account in real time. Subscribers receive regular messages via SMS or WhatsApp and are alerted when their account needs to be topped up or when a leak is detected. So, in reality, water service providers enjoy much more contact with their subscribers and improved visibility of their accounts.
Misconception No. 5
There May Be Future Hidden Costs that Water Service Providers are Unaware of
If a utility finds itself unable to afford the upfront costs of the meters, Citytaps works hard to support them and get the project started. Options include lease-to-own, buyer’s credit or other alternatives that leverage the accounts receivables of utilities to help them acquire the solution.