Veolia Water says the move should allow the company to see the changing pattern of water demand more quickly and easily and it will be evaluating the benefits this may bring during a three year trial.
Veolia Water Southeast Head of Operations Gavin McHale said that the trial would give the company the opportunity to see if efficiency could be improved in a number of areas.
He said: "Potentially having better access to information on the demand for water could open the way for us to make operational improvements, allowing us to save water and to save on energy costs.It might also enable us to detect leaks more easily."
Around 10,000 homes in central Folkestone and parts of Cheriton will be included in the trial.
Meters already installed will be converted to remote reading by adding a simple clip-on device.A low power radio signal will transmit meter readings to a collector which will then pass the information on to a central receiver.Sophisticated software will allow the company to monitor water demand on an hourly basis or even more frequently.
Head of Customer Relationships Pauline Wilson stressed that a very rigorous assessment had been made of data security with the company looking at every stage of the process to ensure that meter reading and billing information remained confidential.
She said: "Essentially our billing system remains the same and there will just be a technical development in the way meters are read. We have consulted the Information Commissioner's Office to help ensure that we continue to fully comply with data protection legislation."
The trial will be undertaken with the assistance of Homerider Systems, a French-based Veolia company that has extensive experience of remote metering reading.Homerider Systems will provide data storage and processing systems to handle the high volume of information involved.
Pauline Wilson added: "It's good to be able to access high level expertise in introducing an advanced project of this kind. Homerider Systems has practical hands on experience of making systems of this kind a success."
There will be no implications for jobs at Veolia Water as staffing levels are planned in line with operational needs and staff are redeployed as needed.
All customers involved in the trial will be sent a letter giving background information on the scheme. They can also ring the company helpline for details on 0845 888 5 888.
For further information, please contact Philip Bosley, PHB Public Relations, on 01580 852500
Notes to editors:
1.Veolia Water supplies 44 million litres of water each day in South and East Kent to a population of more than 158,000 people.
2. Veolia Water is the world's leading operator of water and wastewater services, providing integrated sustainable solutions for all aspects of the water cycle, from the provision of customer services, drinking water and wastewater treatment, to bespoke design solutions for commerce and industry. As the water experts, we understand how to manage the water cycle and can meet the challenges associated with the provision and reuse of water. Our commitment is to providing a first class quality of service to our customers, which is environmentally sustainable and maximises efficiencies through the application of our technological know how and expertise.For more information, visit www.veoliawater.co.uk/southeast.