The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) is revolutionizing its meter-reading performance after the introduction of 100 hand-held meter reading devices, to its offices nationwide.
The hand-held meter reading device is a portable, friendly, mobile-like device that has features ranging from data collection, GPS, internet connectivity,timesheets, camera, maps, SMS, Phone, as well as contacts.
The new device uses an application called MeterOr that effectively ensures timely data reading and entry as opposed to WAF staff monitoring water meters and manually entering readings into logbooks and computers.
WAF General Manager Customer Services and Acting General Manager Operations, Mr. Sekove Uluinayau said this was a step in the right direction for WAF as the hand-held meter reading device has been used and tested across the county for the past three months and has produced favorable results. “The new meter reading device ensures customer satisfaction as it saves a lot of quality time for WAF staff and ensures efficient service delivery to all our customers, and we have invested about $700,000 to improve our services,” said Mr. Uluinayau.
“The accuracy in data collected from these devices also has a rippling effect on other aspects of our service delivery, such as improved billing complaints and improved billing consumption.” Mr. Uluinayau said the device ensures employee satisfaction as staff confidently visit sites knowing that the device will alert them if there is a high reading or missed reading.
Consequently, Mr. Uluinayau said this was a platform where WAF reaffirms their stand for reduced-paper use. “The hard copy printed worksheets are no longer used. With the hand-held meter reading device, the soft copy of worksheet is imported to MeterOr application software which is then exported to various handheld reading devices for meter reading purpose,” explained Mr. Uluinayau.
“When meter-reading is completed by staff, technicians send completed worksheet electronically which gets further processed for final bill statements. There will be no room for errors.” Although the device ensures accuracy in raw data collection, any discrepancy in consumption through new data feed would require WAF staff to take pictures with the device as evidence of the reading.
However, since the introduction of the devices, the Authority has been alerted by customers accusing WAF staff of using their ‘phones’ during work hours whilst conducting meter readings. WAF would like to assure the public on the importance of these ‘mobile-like’ hand-held meter reading devices and that it will continue to be used throughout the country for effective service delivery.
The device has dual functionality in which meter-readers can opt for either manual communication or automated communication. Currently, through the MeterOr, WAF staff manually upload routes and meter-readings when visiting the sites, WAF will transition into automated meter-reading soon. This is where staff will work by driving through an area while the hand-held meter reading device records and periodically uploads new reads to the server automatically.
There are currently 50 hand-held meter reading devices used in the Central/Eastern Division, 40 in the Western Division and 10 in the Northern Division.
The devices are supplied by New Zealand based technology company, Arthur D Riley (ADR). Meanwhile, the Authority pleads to metered customers to properly maintain the surroundings of their water meters to be clean and tidy.
This is to ensure that their water meters are clearly visible and accessible to WAF meter readers at all times, so scheduled meter reading is conducted without any hindrances and water bill is generated and posted on a timely basis.