Evaluation of Granular Consumption Data for the Non-Household Water Market to Support Water Efficiency Outcomes and Leakage Reduction

Evaluation of Granular Consumption Data for the Non-Household Water Market to Support Water Efficiency Outcomes and Leakage Reduction

In 2017 the non-household (NHH) water market was reformed. Water utilities, such as Yorkshire Water and Thames Water, ceased selling NHH water services direct to business customers and became wholesalers. New intermediary companies (such as Castle, Veolia, and Wave) became the retailers, providing services direct to customers.  This new market is regulated by Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL) who have a duty to ensure a competitive market, and who also wish to promote efficient water use by targeting of water conservation and leakage reduction guidance. MOSL have identified data on consumption (and hence billing and the switching of customers between retailers) as a key source of friction within the NHH water market and a constraint on targeting water conservation operations. In partnership with Yorkshire Water and MOSL, this project aims to:

 

1. Improve customer segmentation. Currently water conservation guidance is only provided on the basis of a customer’s industry type (using the Standard Industrial Classification). We aim to enhance customer segmentation by also considering customer water use patterns and potentially by augmenting with further information from publically available datasets. This work will draw on low frequency (year to month) but high volume (millions of customers) water use records.

2. Assess the benefits of more granular water consumption data for understanding water use by segment. There is currently a wide variety of granularity in meter reading data, from annual and biannual readings down to 15 minute consumption data becoming available from smart metering. Comprehensive smart metering would require very significant investment, and there is a need to understand the granularity of data needed to understand water use behaviours by customer segment, and so target conservation guidance. This work will draw on high frequency (down to 15 minute) readings for a low volume (thousands) of customers.

3. Benchmark water use by customer segment to inform water saving strategies. 1 and 2 above will enable us to identify typical consumption behaviour by customer segment, and hence identify atypically high use, potentially indicative of inefficient customer practice or leakage. We will explore approaches for establishing water saving targets for a given segment, and the aggregate water use reduction possible, in moving the segment to the given target.