Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

What is an Advanced Meter?

Fortnightly Magazine - September 2004


This level of performance from a two-way communication system should be good news to utility companies that have already implemented a demand-response program or are in the planning stages. Federal legislation on demand-response programs dictates that utilities need to offer their customers only the option of enrolling in a demand response program. Participation is not mandatory for all consumers. With this technology, utilities have a lot of flexibility in how they plan and implement their demand-response programs.

Are Interval Meters the Only Choice?

Historically, interval data has been the chosen method for collecting daily load usage data. Interval data recording has been used on large commercial and industrial utility accounts and at delivery point substations to provide daily usage of kilowatts, kilovolt-amperes reactive, kilovolt-amperes and power factor (PF). Until today, utilities had no other choice but to use similar data recording devices to collect interval data from residential accounts with the objective of providing hourly load-use profiles for both the energy consumer and energy provider. In addition to providing load profile data, interval data has been used to compute total energy consumption, maximum demand, TOU energy, and to implement dynamic or critical-tier pricing (CTP).

Are interval meters the only technology to use for residential demand-response programs? Some in the industry say no for several reasons. One problem with using interval meters for demand-response is cost. The cost of populating residential areas with interval meters equipped with communication modules could be prohibitive to many utilities. Interval meters collect pulse data and that data needs to be converted into energy usage and billing data that can be understood by the consumer and the utility. A better practice is to collect interval data and store it in the meter as measured energy usage rather than collecting pulse data in an optional meter module. This practice eliminates the chance of losing interval pulse data. Regardless of the method selected, there is additional cost to the utility to convert pulse data into data that is useable by both the utility and the consumer.

In addition to the extra time and expense needed to calculate usage data from interval data, interval data can become corrupt if there is an interruption in the data transmission stream. If interval data is lost or corrupted, additional manipulation of the interval data is required to validate it and there is no way for the consumer to know if their bill accurately reflects their actual energy usage. Calculating load profile data in the meter eliminates this risk and enables consumers to verify their energy bill at the meter. The calculated data a consumer can read on their meter is what appears on their bill.

It should be clear that using interval data for demand-response programs could potentially become an expansive and burdensome task. Fortunately, there are other solutions available that eliminate the need to collect interval data to compute TOU and billing data.

Advanced Metering Technology

New meter technology on the market today provides a better solution for residential demand-response programs. These single-phase solid-state meters can measure, calculate and store data within