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Utility and Smart Meters: Innovative Metering Solutions Driving Efficiency
By Utilities Tech Outlook | Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Creating an optimized infrastructure in the power sector gets a significant boost with the emergence and adoption of smart meters.
FREMONT, CA: The utility industry has been experiencing significant developments. Just as advancing technologies make their way into the industry, there is an increasing demand for better metering facilities. Responding to this demand, service providers have come up with smart meters. One can expect these intelligent metering systems to replace the traditional metering systems gradually. There are numerous factors behind the popularity of smart meters. Automated, smart, and efficient, smart meters have several features that enable better control and management of power usage. They minimize wastage and maximize the options of communication between service providers and consumers. Maintenance services also improve significantly with smart meters.
The electricity industry has been looking for technology to provide alternative solutions to many of the challenges it is facing. Smart meters can revitalize the industry with its features and fuel innovative business models. From improving customer services to adding better facilities, smart meters can help the industry transform rapidly, and effectively. Every time there is an innovation in the field of electricity, it can be easily integrated into the existing systems. Solar and wind energy adoption has been rising. Smart meters can make it easier for the end-users to benefit from the non-conventional resources efficiently, without any complex alterations.
Smart home technologies are now standard. The convenience and efficiency of smart homes bring about is unmatched. These homes also score high in the area of sustainability. Smart meters are essential to smart homes. Not only do the smart meters enable better and reliable connectivity between providers and consumers, but these also minimize wasteful use of resources. In the near future, smart meters will become instrumental in the process of compliance as well. Hence, along with smart and transparent billing, smart meters have many major implications.
There will be a steep rise in demand for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in the coming years. When compared to Advanced Meter Reading (AMR) counterparts, AMI provides users with greater visibility at lesser costs. Electricity companies can gain insights into real-time consumption statistics. Customers, on the other hand, can make well-informed decisions regarding their consumption trends. AMI is designed to read and consider several factors related to the consumption and distribution of electricity. Thus, one can expect to see increased rollouts as stakeholders realize the direct benefits of the technology. Coupled with smart grid technology, smart meters will be deployed to revolutionize the power sector.
Smart meter networks require functional connectivity. Cellular technology is well suited to cater to utility providers’ demand for secure and flexible communication medium. Unhindered connectivity is critical to keep smart meters in the network and enable coordinated operation of the systems. Wireless remote connectivity capabilities are integral to the deployment of efficient hardware and software. Utility service providers can have access to user data in real-time only if good quality and fast communication architecture is present.
One of the straightforward advantages for users in case of smart meters is that smart meters eliminate the need for taking meter readings and submitting them. Smart meters automatically send accurate readings. Inaccurate supplier estimates are soon going to be a thing of the past. Display features in smart meters enable users to track usage and spend carefully. Every time an appliance is used, users can monitor its consumption and avoid its usage in case of spikes.
As the smart meter adoption is still in an initial phase, there are some hurdles associated with it. Not all electricity suppliers support smart meters. Even if the suppliers do support, users have to replace traditional systems. Patchy connectivity can also be an issue with smart meters.
However, the benefits clearly overpower A few barriers that exist. As the utility industry shifts through the phase of digitalization and technological evolution, smart meters are going to be instrumental.