Theft resistant energy meters
All honest consumers would like other users to pay for their fair share of electricity too, so that quality of distribution can improve. With the advent of electronic energy meters, utilities have a wide selection of approaches to combat theft on their grids. The breadth of selection depends upon the existing infrastructure and investment capital available.
Prepayment around the world
In this article we asked Phillip Kettless of PRI Ltd in the UK to trace the early development of prepayment meters. Stephen Hadden of Plexus Research in the USA looked at the changing attitudes towards prepayment in North America, and Graham Hodge of Orion New Zealand gave an overview of prepayment there. Finally Ricardo Brugger of ARO SA describes the actual installation of prepayment meters in Argentina. We are grateful to them all for their input.
New demands on fully automatic test benches
Competition amongst the energy supply companies and the resulting new demands on the metering and accounting technology areas of the energy industry have lead in recent years to a constant flow of newer and more efficient electricity meters.
The manufacturers of testing technology for electricity meters are forced to adapt to these new functions and develop appropriate efficient testing systems and processes with which electricity meters can be rationally tested and accredited in accordance with national and international laws and regulations.
Discovering circuit errors in meter installations
Annual financial losses to energy suppliers caused by connection errors in meter installations should not be neglected. Incorrect connections are often made during installation; these faults are rarely discovered at the time of billing and sometimes go unrecognised for many years. This results in considerable losses to energy suppliers.
Revenue protection and a deregulated environment
Revenue protection is not a major management occupation in many utilities in the developed world today – but a quick analysis of the reality will show that it should be! It is understandable that the attitude of the old monopoly utilities was more relaxed – it was historically possible for them to pass losses from their bottom line to the top line by adjusting the energy rates. Competition is changing all that. In addition, the realisation that the problem of theft and fraud is much bigger than most utilities imagined is also helping to focus the minds of utilities today.
The economics of volume meter testing systems - Static test benches versus trolley and tunnel types
Two basic physical configurations of automatic and semi-automatic test systems are routinely used for volume meter testing. They are static test benches and those with moveable meter trolleys, which are sequentially placed into test tunnels (gantries) for processing. Both types are capable of operating fully to the requirements of IEC 736, but there are significant differences and trade-offs to be considered in performance, throughput and manning requirements.
ABB repositions for international success
In an exclusive interview with Rudi Leitner, publisher of Metering International, Richard Harpum, managing director of ABB Metering, spoke about ABB's restructuring and his vision for the company's future.
Richard Harpum looked relaxed and decidedly purposeful when I met him at Johannesburg International Airport. He had stopped over in South Africa on one of his regular visits to ABB offices all over the world. Responsible for 47 businesses in 32 countries with 4200 employees, he is open, approachable and friendly. The more we spoke, the more it became clear that this is a central part of his management style and vision. Richard Harpum is clearly a man fully embracing the new business age and business models.
Who owns the meter?
In the traditional utility environment the question "Who owns the meter?" would have been treated with some mirth or even derision. It would have been clear to everyone that the meter was owned by the utility – who else?
However, in the post-Thatcher period, when questions are being asked about the most ‘obvious’ and well-established economic relationships, a fundamental reappraisal of these relationships is emerging. The question "Who owns the meter?" is, in utility circles, taking on the mantle of that other fundamental question "What is the meaning of life?". Readers of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy already know the answer to the second question (Forty-two - Ed) but no one seems to be sure of the answer to the first.
Meter test practices around the world
Metering International consulted utilities in the USA, Europe, Africa and the Far East, to establish present practices in respect to meter testing and calibration. We are most grateful to Hein Erwin – head of measurements, Eskom Cape Western Division, South Africa, Barry Maindonald – metering and supply engineer, Jersey Electricity Co, Horia Maries – senior engineer, CONEL SC ELECTRICA SA, Romania, Takao Oki - technical co-operation manager, Japan Electric Meters Inspection Corporation (Jemic), Lauren Pananen – meter engineer, Pacificorp, and Ioan Stoica – manager, Oradea power distribution utility, Romania, for their input. This is a summary of their responses.
New keypad prepayent system allows expanded tariff structures
Prepayment metering installations enjoy unprecedented success. The option of prepayment is convenient both for first time users of electricity (or other commodities) and for established communities which in general do not struggle with budgetary constraints or with the socio-political acceptance of public services.