Storm-Hardened Communication Network from Sensus Helps Water Utilities Weather Winter Blast

Sensus, a Xylem brand, today announced its Sensus FlexNet® Communication Network helped water utilities across South Carolina minimize operational issues during a bitter, two-week cold snap at the beginning of January.

“An unprecedented number of customers suffered from frozen water lines,” said Chesterfield County Rural Water Company CEO Charlie Gray. “We used more water on Monday, January 8, than in the history of our system—all due to customer leaks from thawing service lines that burst.

The FlexNet system is part of the utility’s smart water network that allows them to remotely monitor water usage and pinpoint any problems. The network communicates via dedicated, FCC-licensed spectrum, ensuring secure and reliable data transmissions. Gray credits the system with allowing his team to identify, quantify and notify their customers of leaks from ruptured lines in a matter of hours.

“I firmly believe FlexNet helped us keep up with the intense customer demand,” said Gray. “Thanks to this smart technology we caught the leaks and saved our customers from increased water bills at the end of the month. Without it, we would have run out of water.”

In addition, Mount Pleasant Waterworks had a similar experience with Sensus’ FlexNet system.

“The FlexNet system gives us a lot of options, especially in inclement weather situations,” said Mount Pleasant Waterworks Meter Solutions Supervisor Terry Hughes. “We notified approximately 100 customers of possible leaks during our recent cold snap as we monitored thousands of meters.”

Mount Pleasant has approximately 12,000 smart meters installed and counting. The FlexNet system provides the communications backbone to transmit data seamlessly between the utility and its meters. Using the system, the water provider’s team analyzed data during the Lowcountry’s frigid temperatures in January which pinpointed trouble spots and helped them proactively alert their customers.

“The ability to run the many reports is priceless,” said Hughes. “We could easily see how our customers’ water usage changed with the weather, especially the ones who failed to winterize their irrigation systems. Our system performed outstandingly.”

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