European semiconductor chip maker ST Microelectronics has developed a product range to allow utilities to improve billing by accurately measuring down to low power levels.

Meters featuring ST’s new STPM32, STPM33 and STPM34 ICS will help utilities minimise revenue losses and ensure consistent billing for even low-use customers.

Meters are accurate at current levels typically down to 50mA, but in with increasing use of low-standby appliances, utilities can loose megawatt-hours of billings across a large customer base, said ST.

The STPM3 devices, suitable for single and multi-phase systems, claim to prevent such losses by keeping the meter accuracy down to just a few milliamps, comparable to the current drawn by an LED television in standby.

STs new chips also enable the development of more economical meters that help utilities reduce their operating costs.

By performing power-quality calculations on-chip, including RMS voltage and current measurement, apparent-energy computation, and under-voltage/over-voltage detection, the chips can offload the meter’s host processor thus simplifying software.

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