Help citizens help themselves: in Kansas city, Residential Leak Alerts Enhance Customer Service

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When Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (KC BPU) installed a water and electric AMI system in 2013, in addition to improving service and reliability, they hoped to empower customers to be wiser energy and water consumers. That goal prompted the Water Department staff to make residential leak detection a priority.

KC BPU uses Council member Elster’s EnergyAxis to read 67,000 electric meters and 56,000 water meters. To help customers benefit from their AMI data, the Water Department implemented a residential leak-detection report.

With Elster’s EnergyAxis metering system, KC BPU gets hourly readings of residential water consumption every day, which allows the utility to run a leak-detection report and quickly notify customers of suspected leak activity. Each day, Water Department staffers notify any customer whose consumption shows at least 25.2 cubic feet or 188.5 gallons of water running through the meter every hour for 24 consecutive hours.

For example, a lot of water – and money – will uselessly wash down the drain if the toilet flushing-mechanism’s chain gets stuck beneath the flapper. That could easily amount to a residential water bill of $1,000 or more per month.

Between the leak-alert’s program launch in September 2013 and April 2015, more than 1,500 customers – or 2.6% of the utility’s 56,000 households served – hadreceived a money-saving call from KC BPU.