Customer Meter Elements and the External Customer Meter Data Manager

Applies To 
Product(s): WaterGEMS, WaterCAD
Version(s): V8i, CONNECT Edition
Area:  Modeling
Original Author: Scott Kampa, Bentley Technical Support Group

Customer Meter Element

Customer meter elements provide a way for users to maintain customer water demand data within WaterGEMS and WaterCAD. Meaning, a more complete view of the model is represented, with all individual customer locations, as opposed to using LoadBuilder to assign the related demands of multiple customers into a single nearby node. It provides the user access to features such as element symbology and the ability to visualize customer location and assignment of demand to node elements.

The new customer meter element is represented by a house icon as pictured below and the association of the element with a node or pipe is shown as a dashed line.

The main steps for using the customer meter elements are entering demands for the element and assigning the customer metering element to a hydraulic model element, such as a junction. This is done by clicking on the drop down button in the “Associated Element” field from the properties grid or the FlexTable then choosing “Select Associated Element…”

Note: the "Zone" field will display the Zone of the customer meter's associated element.

The customer meter element can also be imported or updated from eternal data sources using ModelBuilder. More information can be found on ModelBuilder by this link: Building and updating a model using ModelBuilder

The external data source should contain a label, the x-y coordinate and demand data for the new element. If the data source is a shapefile, the spatial data is included already, so x-y coordinates are not needed.

Demands can be entered manually by entering values in the property grid, the customer meter FlexTable, and the Demand Alternative under the Customer Meter tab. Demands from a customer meter element must be assigned to the associated hydraulic modeling element in order to be used in the calculations. The demand control center is not used for the customer meter element because the demand data including unit demands, and demand patterns can be entered directly at individual Customer Meters or in bulk through the Customer Meter flextable. Since there can be more than one customer meter assigned to a junction or a pipe the demand gets distributed to the nearest node or equally distributed as per the allocation method used.

If the Customer Meter is connected to a pipe via a lateral and tap, you can also define how the demand will be distributed between nodes. By default, the demand will be split evenly between the upstream and downstream node. If the pipe is attached to a node that cannot have a demand, such as a valve or a pump, you will need to reattach the customer meter to a junction instead of the pipe. However, you can define the distribute by assigning a value to the Demand Distribution (Start) property field. The Demand Distribution (Stop) field will update automatically. If the customer meter is associated with a junction, the Demand Distribution (Start) field will not be editable, since all of the demand will go to the junction.

Importing Customer Meters with Loadbuilder

LoadBuilder can be used to assign the customer meter element to the hydraulic modeling element using one of the allocation methods located within the “Customer Meter load data” in the first step of the LoadBuilder process. The different methods that can be chosen are, "Nearest node", "Nearest pipe", or “Customer Meter Aggregation”. The "Model Node Layer" will usually be set to ‘Junction\All Elements’, but it can also be any selection set of node elements that have “Demand (Base)” as a property. The "Customer Data" is usually set to Customer\All Elements although it can also be any selection set of customer meter elements. If the customers are being assigned based on nearest pipe method, in addition to specifying the Model Node Layer and Customer Data, the user must also specify the Model Pipe Data which identifies the pipes to be considered. This enables the user to use a selection set which can ignore large transmission mains with no customers.


- For more information on connecting customer meters to pipes with taps and laterals, see this article.

When using Loadbuilder to assign customer meters to junctions, it is typically best to choose to update the existing Demand alternative rather than create a new one. If a new Demand alternative is created, the demand data imported through ModelBuilder will be lost, unless the correct parent demand alternative is selected. 

- When using the nearest pipe method, ensure that you select a selection set containing pipes, for the "pipe layer" field in LoadBuilder. After importing, customer meters will be shown as being associated with the nearest pipe, yet the related demands will be assigned to the junction(s) adjacent to the pipe. In the properties of the customer meter, you will see fields "demand distribution (start)" and "demand distribution (stop)". After computing the model, you can look at the computed demand field in the junction to see the demand allocation. Note that if you're using version 10.00.00.XX with the "distance weighted" load assignment option, it is recommend that you upgrade to version 10.01.00.XX or higher. A fix was made to the way that loads were assigned to the adjacent nodes with this method.

- If the customer meter is within 10 feet of a junction node (perpendicularly), it will be assigned directly to that node directly instead of the pipe. One common situation where this occurs is at a cul-de-sac.

Hydraulic Results

Typically, customer meter elements are not directly used in hydraulic calculations so there are no hydraulic results for them. The user should find results in the node to which the customer element is associated. However, starting with the CONNECT Edition release of WaterGEMS and WaterCAD, results fields for hydraulic grade and pressure have been included for the customer meter element. If you want to include these results in the customer meter, open the Calculation Options and change the property "Calculate Customer Results?" to True. When you compute the model, you will see results for hydraulic grade at the current time step, as well as maximum and minimum results across the model run.

If you are using WaterGEMS/WaterCAD V8i SELECTseries 6 or earlier, hydraulic results will not be directly available.

External Customer Meter Data Manager

A new External Customer Meter Data manager have been added so that external source data can be added to the Customer Meter element. This allows the user to see detailed information about the location that the Customer Meter element represents. Similar to ModelBuilder, the user can select from a number of source file types, such as database files and Excel files, and import the data into the External Customer Meter Data manager. This can be important in keeping track of demand information that will be applied to the Customer Meters.

Turning off the dashed lines

To turn on and off the dashed line "decoration" between the customer meter and the associated element, use the option in the Element Symbology property grid called "Show Associated Element Decorations".

See: How to turn on and off dashed lines associated with taps or customer meters

NOTE : There is a bug in exporting submodels when customer meter elements are attached to pipes, the associated elements are not exported, this is reported in version. For this patch has been developed, you can contact Technical Support  to avail the patch or patch will be incorporated in next release - 10.04.XX.XX version of WaterGEMS / WaterCAD. 

Learn More

For a free Webinar on using the Customer Element, click this link. If this link does not work, navigate to the main H&H Webinar directory and scroll down to the entry from Sep 2014 entitled "Improved hydraulic modeling of customers and their water demands"

See Also

Using LoadBuilder to assign Customer Meters to the nearest pipe using taps and laterals

User Notification: "Cannot distribute ##.#% customer demand to <Node Type> "<Node Label>" of associated pipe <Pipe Label>."

Finding customer meters not connected via a lateral

Can I change the associated element for a customer meter in a child scenario?

Using Customer Meter demands with Darwin Calibrator

Pressure and other results at Customer Meter elements