Accuracy of digital electricity meters


Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 12, 2010 – With the widespread rollout of solid state meters to replace old electromechanical meters there will likely be both real and perceived issues with solid state designs that need addressing, and care must be taken to consider each case thoroughly and to use sound diagnostic practices to trace each issue to its root cause.

This is according to a new White Paper from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) entitled “Accuracy of Digital Electricity Meters,” which reviews factors that may be perceived to affect the accuracy of these devices.

The White Paper states that from a utility perspective, several meter performance factors are of concern, including robustness, longevity, cost, and accuracy. But from the homeowner’s perspective, the dominant concern is accu¬racy. If a meter breaks, the utility will fix it. If it becomes obsolete, it is the utility’s problem to deal with. But if a meter is inaccurate in the measurement of energy use, there is a potential that custom¬ers could be charged for more energy than they actually used, and if the effect were only slight, then it could go undetected. For this reason, accuracy and dependability remain a common concern and a con¬tinued focus of dialogue regarding solid state meters.

The White Paper continues that solid state meters have been met with mistrust in some early deployments, with the most significant of the complaints being that the meters are simply inaccurate, resulting in higher bills. Given that these meters are designed to stringent ANSI requirements, the factors that may lead to these observations and perceptions are important to understand.

Among these are changes in billing periods, complexity of commissioning new meters, early life failures, extraordinary weather, new rate structures, the use of embedded software, and voltage transient susceptibility.

In addressing issues that arise with solid state meters, temptations to either blame or exonerate the meter must be resisted, the White Paper concludes. Ideally, each inves¬tigation should not only resolve any homeowner concerns, but also discover any product imperfections so that solid state meter designs may be continually improved.

 To read the White Paper click HERE.