Anti-tamper protection for electricity meters


San Jose, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 7, 2007 – Power Integrations, a supplier of high-voltage analog integrated circuits used in power conversion, has introduced a new Power Supply Design Idea (DI-141) based on the company’s LinkSwitch-XT family that enables anti-tampering protection in electricity meter applications.

In some countries a high percentage of electricity production is consumed illegally through tampered meters – a very real cost to utility companies. New and effective anti-tampering strategies are in continuous demand by meter developers. The Power Integrations design idea offers an isolated power supply in flyback configuration that delivers 150 mA at 5 V, even under an intense external magnetic field – the most commonly used method of disabling meters without alerting existing anti-tampering measures.

Power Integrations’ LinkSwitch-XT family includes EcoSmart® technology, which optimizes the efficient conversion of energy at different load levels. By replacing traditional linear power supplies with the PI solution, the 2 W of power used by power meters – the maximum amount recommended by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) – can be reduced to around 1 W while still providing the 750 mW of power required by the advanced meter electronics. The PI solution thus reduces energy expended in metering by 50 per cent.

Silvestro Fimiani, product marketing manager at Power Integrations, said: “Adoption of this technology is an effective way for utility companies, which are investing millions of dollars worldwide to install an automatic meter infrastructure (AMI), to recover part of their huge investment by saving energy.”