Smart Meters : Measuring the consumption of Electricity , gas & water
Smart meters are a modern replacement for traditional meters used for measuring the consumption of electricity, gas, or water for billing purposes. Smart meters measure consumption continuously and can send the data to billing companies periodically. They also have an in-home display which can show the current as well as historical consumption data to the consumers.
See also : IoT in Electrical power Industry
Traditional meters allowed utility companies to know the total usage at the end of a time-period for billing. The customers also knew about their usage and bill only when they received their electricity bill. Smart meters allow two-way communication between the utility companies and customers by sending consumption data to the utility company periodically and showing current usage as well as total usage up to that time to the consumers. The consumers can adjust their usage with the help of this data while utility companies can adjust their production based on the usage pattern.
Smart meters can collect data about the time of use in addition to the total usage. This allows utility companies to provide different billing options for customers. Customers can choose their own billing cycles since up-to-date usage data is always available. Smart-meters can also track the electricity generated by home-based solar power systems. Customers can get credits for the energy produced by their home solar power system, resulting in more savings.
Peak time usage can be charged higher than non-peak time usage. The customers can also monitor their usage and adjust it to reduce their usage at peak time and help reduce their bills. The utility company also benefits from not having to invest in producing more electricity at peak times. The utility companies can also analyze the data over time and adjust their production to meet the demand at different times of the day. This will help reduce problems due to overload.
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Smart meters are a part of Smart grid as explained in https://iotdunia.com//iot-in-electrical-power-industry/. With the help of smart meters and smart grid, utility companies can get information about power outages in real-time. With the information about location, extent, and severity of the outage, the utility companies can fix it very quickly.
Smart meters use a secure, wireless, radio wave based network for communication. This network is created specifically for the purpose of smart meter communication. Two types of networks are used in smart meter communication.
• HAN – Home Area Network : communicates the usage data to the in-home display
• WAN – Wide Area Network : communicates the usage data to the utility companies
The transition to smart meters is being adopted by a lot of countries. The UK is actively working on converting all the traditional meters to smart meters. Few other countries like Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain and some parts of the US are also working on transitioning to the smart meter.
See also : IoT enabled Smart Building Technology
India has also started the move towards smart meters through smart cities. In India, utility companies face huge losses due to electricity theft, meter tampering, and non-payment of bills. Smart meters can help with all of these problems. Smart meter technology can provide the data about unauthorized electricity usage on a line to detect electricity theft.
Smart-meters can also have tampering detection ability. Electricity can be cut off remotely after providing warnings for non-payment of bill. Smart meters will greatly help the utility companies to minimize their losses. The customers will pay for exactly what they use and not have to deal with meter reading errors.
Smart meters are the future of energy billing and usage. They are going to be the norm in the near future.
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