Smart Meters

News and insights into the latest developments in smart meters technology, utility deployment plans and the use of advanced metering infrastructure to improve customer service and demand response strategies. The focus will also include trends in wireless or fixed communications such as power line carrier (PLC) or wireless ad hoc networks over Wi-Fi, wireless mesh networks, low power long-range wireless (LORA), ZigBee (low power, low data rate wireless), and Wi-SUN (Smart Utility Networks).

Avanced metering goes mainstream

For years, the utility industry has grappled with the exciting opportunities presented by automating its residential and light commercial networks. At first, the main question was whether to enable automated meter reading (AMR) and convert to digital meters, or continue with traditional manual reads of electromechanical units. More recently, the advent of advanced metering, which supports many value-added functions beyond meter reading, further complicated the decision-making process.

Worldwide energy saving solution launched

A smart metering solution that will help address the issues of climate change and energy costs has been launched by the Elster Group.

Thomas Ganswindt new
 

A new business, Elster Integrated Solutions (EIS) based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, will drive global programmes to help utilities worldwide adopt the latest smart metering systems. Automated meter reading (AMR) and advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) are designed specifically for gas, electricity and water utility customers. These smart meters can help with some of the most pressing current environmental issues.

SRP’s prepayment project reaches new milestone

[img:Salt River Project head office (Small).thumbnail.jpg|SRP Headquarters]Phoenix, AZ --- (METERING.COM) --- November 30, 2006 – U.S. utility Salt River Project’s M-Power program is closing in on a new milestone with the connection of the 50,000th customer to its prepayment alternative. Already the largest pre-pay metering system in North America, the program began 15 years ago as a service primarily targeted at low-income or credit-challenged customers, but since then has quickly expanded across SRP’s residential electric customer base. SRP is the largest provider of power to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 890,000 electricity customers.

AMI in California

In a sense, AMI has been coming for a long time. It is the natural outgrowth of AMR, and circumstances, at least in California, make this a very good time to move ahead with AMI. n my mind, there are several key drivers that make AMI especially attractive now.

  • Regulatory support: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was spurred by widespread blackouts on the East Coast several years ago. The Act looks at supply side and demand side solutions, such as programmable thermostats. AMI is a foundational technology that creates opportunities to improve grid efficiency and create more demand response options. Eventually, additional demand side responses will defer the need for more power plants and their ancillary infrastructure, helping to hold down customer costs.
  • Changes in technology: By moving from electromechanical meters to solid state, vast amounts of new data about customer usage and specific information about operations on the grid is becoming available. For example, it will be possible to pinpoint the exact location of an outage, allowing the restoration of service more quickly to customers. In some ways, the installation of AMI will resemble the introduction of the digital watch. At first, it was simply a very accurate timepiece, but it grew into a stopwatch, then a heart monitor, etc. The same growth will be seen in applications for the two-way communicating meter. As the experience of other utilities that have gone before, the full potential for all this data will not be known until it is available.
  • Enabling technology: Enhanced demand response will require greater participation by customers. While residential and small business customers are quick to conserve to avoid rolling blackouts, few are aware of the cost of peak energy usage. AMI can help enable customer awareness of true energy costs and give them an opportunity to effectively manage their bills through optional timedifferentiated rates. In addition, a recognition of those true costs will provide an excellent opportunity to promote energy efficiency programmes, rebates and habits.
  • The environment: More efficient use of energy from fossil fuels will reduce air and water emissions. Also, because information about grid operations will be expanded, it will be possible for greater integration of distributed generation resources, including renewables with their minimal environmental impacts.

AMI is a foundational application that will enable a variety of modernising technologies including the smart grid, with its self-healing advanced grid control systems to generate and distribute electricity most effectively, economically and securely for future needs.

COMMERCIAL FEATURE: Shielded current converters for electronic energy meters

Hanau, Germany --- (METERING.COM) --- November 30, 2006 – VACUUMSCHMELZE, a designer and producer of advanced magnetic materials and related products based in Germany, launched its new shielded current converters for electronic energy meters at the recent electronica conference.

These shielded CTs (current transformers) feature ultra-low sensitivity to external magnetic fields, plus integrated shields which render additional external shielding superfluous. The current sensors are unaffected by magnetic shields up to strength 1 T.

Shielded current converters for electronic energy meters

Hanau, Germany --- (METERING.COM) --- November 30, 2006 – VACUUMSCHMELZE, a designer and producer of advanced magnetic materials and related products based in Germany, launched its new shielded current converters for electronic energy meters at the recent electronica conference.

These shielded CTs (current transformers) feature ultra-low sensitivity to external magnetic fields, plus integrated shields which render additional external shielding superfluous. The current sensors are unaffected by magnetic shields up to strength 1 T.

From remote to advanced automatic meter reading in the ASEAN region

Automatic meter reading (AMR) has become a buzzword across the whole metering universe. AMR is a term applied to the collection of technologies that enable utilities to read electric, gas, water meters more efficiently. Utilities in the Southeast Asian (ASEAN) region have started considering investment in large scale advanced AMR systems, while a few of them are already running small pilots on remote meter reading.

You can crack an egg with a sledgehammer!

Compos Mentis

This column is to create a forum for ideas, passions and perspectives on our industry that are controversial, provocative and energising. The views expressed here may be unpopular, politically incorrect, heretical or simply humorous. The views expressed may be ideas that all of us have had but didn’t care (or dare) to articulate. The opinions expressed are those of the author alone, but are probably shared by many who have yet to say so.

The enhanced ZigBee standard: more control, more choice

ZigBee
 

The completion and immediate member availability of the enhanced version of the ZigBee standard has been announced by the ZigBee™ Alliance.

The standard is the only global wireless communication standard enabling the development of easily deployable low cost, low power, monitoring and control products for homes, commercial buildings and industrial plant monitoring. Public availability of the standard is scheduled for the first quarter of 2007. “The enhanced version of ZigBee arrives at a time when there has never been greater need in the world to have more control over our homes and businesses – especially when it comes to reducing energy consumption,” says Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance.

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