Special Report

Smart meters rationalising electricity consumption

In the past, consumers had no option to view the real-time data of how much electricity has been used and had no control over the budgeting. The idea of smart metering will be very important for the new research fields of micro grid and smart grid and is an inevitable step in making any grid smarter than it is now.

Providing the consumer with control over energy consumption
Smart meter allows the customer to take leverage usage charges and monitor their individual consumptions. The consumer is expected to take responsibility. Smart meters have altered the trend by rationalising electricity consumption in India and providing the consumer with control over energy consumption, detection of theft/tampering and payment of energy bills, preventing tenant dispute. Also, R.K. Singh, Minister of Power, had mentioned the replacement of basic electricity meters with smart meters as a significant step towards enabling power sector reforms in Bihar as the primary objectives was to enhance consumer convenience, satisfaction and rationalisation of electricity consumption.

Deploying effective metering equipment to prevent meter fires
Meter fires are generally caused due to improper installation of meters on the panel. This could lead to arcing, creating popping, humming, and appliance damage. Also, arcing can lead to fires and explosions. It’s also necessary to ensure that tamper-proof polycarbonate plastic seals are used for sealing electrical installations in smart meters. However, manufacturers tend to use low-cost material as a replacement to a high priced polycarbonate. These factors will increase the risk of meter fires. Thus, it’s mandatory to inspect all smart meters as per the compliance standards to ensure safety and effecting monitoring

Recommendations for utilities
The location where smart meters were installed was found to have a plastic case in comparison to older electromechanical meters that had a glass case. In several countries, fires originated from smart meters were found to be a result of plastic cases that are clearly subject to melting and burning. The resultant meter fires could be avoided with effective design of smart meters and using high-quality polycarbonate for meter case irrespective of pricing. Also, meter fires caused due to improper installation could be undoubtedly resolved with appropriate inspection with testing as per safety standards use qualified electrical workers for these installations.

Metering technology by Elmeasure
Prepaid/postpaid energy meters manufactured at Elmeasure has a compact wall mounted design. These meters are well designed to allow tripping of EB or DG consumption at a predetermined set point for protection and effective use of energy. Prepaid/postpaid meters are developed to provide flexibility in remote firmware upgradation with multiple communication portal such as optical port, RS485, RS232, GPRS. The most common issues seen in utility is meter tampering and to avoid this we have provided15 different anti-tampering features. Also, if any tampering occurs will be notified as meter tamper alerts via emails or pop-ups. Elmeasure meters are further provided with overvoltage protection that is provided beyond 285V to protect the property and life. The meter cases are manufactured using high-quality polycarbonate materials to avoid melting and burning.

Authored by:

Sam P Cherian,
Chairman,
Elmeasure India Pvt Ltd

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