Although existing mechanical water meters perform very well, problems do occur in the meter reading and billing process, causing high costs. Online metering is an answer to many of the meter reading and billing problems. Additional drivers for implementing online metering are better service for customers, legislative pressure to perform more frequent meter readings, image issues in relation to the foreseen implementation of online metering by Dutch energy companies, and better water demand forecasts (asset management). Despite the fact that many technical solutions (or parts thereof) are available on the market; a full scale test has not yet been performed in The Netherlands. For example, some severe technical challenges are yet to be overcome, such as communication with water meters in garden pits and, related to this issue, the energy supply that must exceed the technical lifetime of new water meters. Also, challenges to cooperate with Dutch energy companies exist as they are now piloting different online metering systems. Six water companies have started a joint project to gain experience with different technical solutions and systems through several pilots in the lab and in the field. To stimulate a healthy market place and to decrease the dependence on one supplier it is crucial that the different parts of an online metering system can be substituted by products of other suppliers. In parallel to this, opportunities for standardisation of communication protocols are being explored. Standardisation of protocols must ensure that the different parts in the system, developed by different suppliers, communicate without problems.

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