As our customer, we appreciate the trust you put in us with information about yourself. Our Privacy Promise is designed to give you all the reassurance you need that we are protecting your information properly.
We promise that we will:
Water consumption data, together with other data associated with your smart meter (see What personal data is collected? below) is regarded as personal data. Personal data is any data which can be used to identify you, whether on its own or when combined with other data.
The types of personal data which Northumbrian Water collects about you will include your name and contact details, your property identification number, meter serial number, property information, occupier details and account information.
If you have a smart water meter installed in your home, it collects and sends data to us showing the flow of water into your property via a wireless network. A smart meter can also be referred to as AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure), enhanced metering or an upgraded meter.
Smart meters are normally fitted externally to your home, in a chamber on the footpath or within the boundary of your home. If we have replaced an older internal meter or if the type of property doesn’t allow for an external placement, this will be inside your home.
When you can see how much water you use, you can manage your consumption better, and thus control your bills. Smart meter data allows us to give you an accurate bill, rather than an estimated one, where we have network coverage. This breadth of data will help us to manage long-term resources better, using real water consumption figures.
For example, if we know how much water is delivered to customers’ properties then, by looking at the total volumes put into the network, we can assess how much is being lost through leakage. We can then identify, and fix, those leaks more quickly. This is of clear benefit throughout our supply area, but particularly so in areas of water stress such as the South East.
We will also be able to share data electronically with suppliers, saving time and costs, which is then reflected in customer bills.
Smart water meters collect three main types of data (smart metering data):
Smart metering data will be linked to the individual meter details (water flow/consumption data, meter ID), property information (property type, residency type). This data is collected hourly.
From your point of view, the key data collected is likely to be the amount of water used.
By analysing consumption, we can spot abnormal usage patterns which helps us to identify a leak within a property and act promptly to help remedy this. It is a priority for us to address burst or leaking network pipes.
Hourly consumption data helps us ensure we can maintain adequate water pressure during periods of peak demand (peak and minimum flow analysis), gives us a better idea where water is going, and therefore helps us identify the root cause of events more quickly, such as changes in pressure or demand for water across the network.
Consumption data will be collected at 15-minute intervals between 2am and 4am. Sometimes referred to as the ‘nightline’, this allows us to accurately detect customer-side leakage when planned usage is at a minimum.
We can only process your personal data where we have a lawful basis for doing so.
Here are the ones we rely on in relation to smart metering:
We need to process your data to comply with a legal obligation under the Water Industry Act 1991.
We need to process your data to allow us to carry out a task in the public interest given our role as a statutory water and sewerage undertaker.
We have legal obligations to supply water, maintain water quality, promote water efficiency, and maintain adequate drainage in line with rules set by our regulators.
We need to process your data for our legitimate interests, or those of a third party, and this requirement is not overridden by your individual rights.
The table below looks at how we use your personal data, and the lawful basis which allows us to process it.
|What we do with your personal data||Lawful basis for processing|
Improve our billing service
Smart data allows us to provide more
accurate bills (actual meter reads, not
estimates) without you having to take
a meter read, or us sending out meter
Improved network efficiency
Real consumption figures
(anonymised) allow us to see how
much water is being used within the
network, rather than relying on
Check remotely for any leaks
This helps you avoid paying for water
going to waste
Improving asset maintenance
Smart meter data shows us at once
where a meter has failed so we can
repair it promptly. This reduces
leakage and water waste.
Improving customer services
Smart meters give you daily, weekly
and monthly consumption data so you
can understand your usage better and
reduce your bills. You will no longer
have to send us meter readings, which
saves your time. Looking at your
consumption data, we can offer you
tips on water saving customised for
your own usage.
Helping us to help customers better
Daily smart reads help us to manage
the customer Move In, Move Out
process better. Electronic meter
reading saves you, and us, time all
round. Accurate data means we can
answer account queries more easily.
We will also be better placed to
identify empty properties.
Helping demand management
Having real water consumption
readings (anonymised) helps us
compare the volume of water used as
against the amount we put into the
network. This helps us with managing
The aggregated, anonymised smart
meter data helps us analyse the
performance of our water network and
plan our supply strategy for the years
We may share data from your smart meter with the following categories of third parties for the purposes listed below and/or in the following circumstances:
When we use third party organisations to help provide services to you, we have robust contracts in place with them to ensure they only act in accordance with our instructions.
Version 2: This document was last updated on 28.09.2023