Leading-Digit Patterns from Smart Water Meters

November 2020 | Robert B. Sowby and Daniel R. Jones

This study examines leading digits (i.e., first non-zero digits, 1–9) in hourly smart meter readings from a western U.S. water utility. The readings tend toward values that start with 1. This suggests that water use by individual customers should follow a particular pattern of leading digits and that deviation from the pattern may indicate data errors or abnormal water use.