Combining the benefits of prepayment and AMR
Revenue collection has traditionally been accomplished using conventional credit meters with regular meter reading, extension of credit to customers and normal credit collection mechanisms.
But as utilities around the world are coming to grips with deregulation, there is an increasing need for them to review existing business processes so as to make them more cost effective and customer friendly.
Intelligent billing system improves electricity utilities' efficiency
New billing system has been introduced by Landis & Gyr, and acceptance, reliability and efficiency are being tested by two Swiss electricity utilities in a two-year pilot project which got off the ground in spring 1997.
The Baden Municipal Works, a medium-sized operation, is testing the system with 50 volunteer customers. The department hopes the pilot project will provide important information as to whether the payment system will allow it to meet present-day competitive challenges. Initial results are promising and, if the system works well , Baden may introduce it for its household segment .
Using modems in remote meter reading
Modems are electronic devices that enable exchange of data over a telephone network between two computers where each is fitted with a compatible modem. In the same way communication can take place between a computer and an electronic meter. Telephone based meter reading is particularly suitable for difficult to read meters and where regular metering is necessary. The use of modems in remote meter reading is growing rapidly in certain countries – in Europe notably in Scandinavia and the UK.
Automating the meter test station
Two years ago Metering International discussed the productivity gains achieved by South Western Electricity Board (SWEB) a UK utility, as a result of re-equipping their meter test station with fully automatic meter test systems from EDI. Since then SWEB’s systems have been further streamlined by applying automation principles to the whole of the meter test station.
Modern measurement techniques for verifying electricity meters and measuring loads on site
This paper provides an insight into the measurement techniques available today.
Measurements in situ are carried out for various reasons, and this article looks at available means according to user groups. We must establish whether the measurement will simply be carried out on the basis of a summary verification of the meter and its connections, or whether it will be complete verification at many load points, as in a calibration. It is obviously not necessary to use expensive precision equipment to test a standard household electricity meter of class 2, for example
Handheld survey: can an investment in handheld units be justified?
As a first step towards full AMR, many utilities seeing the need to move away from conventional meter reading but reluctant to make the large investment required by an AMR system are investing in handheld units. In this article several major manufacturers of handheld computers respond to some frequently-asked questions.
Do future trends favour AMR?
This is the second instalment of our industry survey on automatic meter reading.
A wide variety of communication systems is available for automatic meter reading. Radio and telephone seem to be the most common systems in use, but polyphase meters have also been interfaced to CDPD, cellular, distribution line carrier and CEBus local carrier. In addition proprietary bulletin board systems the Internet and intranets are increasingly being used to support certain data intensive, large user applications.
Prepayment metering - a look at the basics
What is prepayment metering? By definition a prepayment electricity system does not use billing in its classical form (i.e. use first and pay afterwards) but collects the money up front. It is similar to filling a car at a petrol station. Once the credit is used, the supply of electricity is interrupted. In our example the car would simply stop when the fuel tank is empty. Nobody would claim that cars must run whether or not there is fuel in the tank, but it seems outrageous to stop the supply of electricity when the credit has been used up.
Metering communications and services using the low voltage distribution network
The last twenty years has seen an increase in power communications technology, as utilities view the process as a means to provide better services to customers, both industrial and residential. Improving access to customer information, and providing customers with information, can be accomplished if economic and reliable communications are developed.
The latching relay in energy management
Despite technological advances in power semiconductors, the need for disconnection specifically in areas like energy management, mains supply disconnection and prepayment has created an increasing demand for latching relays.
The reasons are obvious. No semiconductor-based disconnection device can tolerate the harsh environment in mains supply systems without expensive protection. In addition, most applications in these areas require physical disconnection because of the protection of human life (`safe disconnection').