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Keeping up with the technology curve

Electromechanical meters are being phased out in favour of more accurate solid state meters offering a sophisticated feature set that includes options such as programmability, AMR, prepayment technology and multi-function measurement capabilities.

However, these advances don’t come without a price, and to modern meter shops it’s a hefty one. The cost of buying new equipment to test these state-of-the-art meters is a burden on utility budgets. Test equipment from just a few years ago is less accurate than many modern-day meters, to say nothing about the inability of this outmoded equipment to interact with the advanced features of new meters. Furthermore, special data management systems are required to take full advantage of the vast amount of information and the accessories that new model meters can generate.

Trying to keep up with this technology curve is an economic impossibility. To keep their heads above water, meter testers need to find solutions that address all the aspects of modern metering, rather than purchasing equipment that only satisfies some of their needs. Fortunately the same advances that are propelling meters into the future allow for far more advanced test equipment.

A modern test system should test faster, more accurately, communicate directly with the meter, come in a smaller package, and be supported by software that allows for easy organisation of the test results. When a company that produces test equipment works hand in hand with meter manufacturers, they are able to deliver smart units that recognise the meter in the socket, and can test it three to five times faster. By designing around the highest accuracy standards available, a modern test system can test the accuracy of the meter, rather than the meter testing the accuracy of outdated equipment. All of this should operate in a data framework that tracks every aspect of a shop’s operation – from equipment and test results to shipping and administrative details.