A smart meter which conveys the usage of energy to the consumer at every predetermined time interval. The user has the real-time data of the energy consumption at his utility or the house. Based on the vast data available about consumption then he optimises the use and control his energy expenditure. Smart meters used in electricity and gas consumption and installed on input lines. This is a new trend arrived at western societies. A smart meter installed in the house uses the smart grid too so that the distribution company can avail the data to manage the energy usage in the broader pattern. This provides assisting suggestions to reduce the carbon footprint and expenditure on the generation.
Smart metering uses the combination of digital technology and CDMA. CDMA provides the continuous communication of data from meter to the consumer either on a smart phone or laptop. The digital meter readies the signal equivalent to the consumption at an interval pre- programmed in the system software. At an interval the consumption data pings on your smart device. In a typical setup a digital meter installed with transmitter and data converted form a smart meter. The hardware controlled by essential software. This software is just co-ordinating mechanism between devices and do not have the ability of analysing the data. A separate application or software used for the analysis.
The smart meter uses the digital technology and is very accurate to the given decimal points. Further they are safe to operate as no physical hazards associated with the meters due to technology and operating environment. They are easy to handle and install. Further they are light and small in sizes and with the improvements in nanotechnology the sizes will decrease further. Such user-friendly features make them popular among the customers and users. However, a smart metering system must have flexibility to operate between different architectures for acceptability and use. It should support all the available metering solutions and data transfer protocols too.
With analogue meters we learn to measure quantities, digital devices gave accurate readings and smart meters gave power of analysis. Smart grid is the collective manifestation of smart metering. As the smart meters convey the usage data to the grid, depending upon the usage pattern a smart grid operates power plants. It further helps to schedule the generation from traditional to renewable sources. This is the biggest spin off of the combination of digital and CDMA technology.
Another advantage is differential pricing of energy. Based on the data usage Power Company can decide on lean periods and offer lower rates of power during the time. At nights the peak demand reduces and if offered low rates, then industry can utilise energy and shut down during the peak demand to reduce the production costs. The reflection of accurate data leads to management of power production and its utilisation.
The smart meters are tamper proof as compared to old analogue meters; people with knowledge of operation of the analogue meter could tamper them with ease. In smart meters there is the sensing element which is tamper-proof. Further the data well protected in smart meters. Smart meters with their ability to communicate data to the processing centre or to the individual saves the manual effort of collating the data from the meters. It saves time and errors connected to the old system. The manual system too was susceptible to tampering and could produce error prone data for analysis.
The remote switching of power plants is now possible based on decisions of the smart grid. This again saves time in enhances efficiency of the system.
In India the smart meters are yet to arrive, but the arrival is eminent. The metros will see their arrival first than the rural India. The increasing energy needs of the country one can meet with smart metering solutions. Smart meters and grids can bridge the gap between the rising energy needs and the shortfall in production till the sufficient power is available at the disposal. When the sufficient power is available, then power plants can operate on the demand basis. At present they operate on few coarse assumptions based on raw data. Smart metering is another medium which facilitates operation of traditional energy sources and renewable energy sources. Traditional sources add to bulk quantity of energy while renewable sources add in smaller portions in the large number. System sets the protocol of switching depending upon the power demand in actual with the help of smart metering.
Similar situation is with the piped gas. Most of the metros are getting piped gas in households and charged as per the meter. A smart meter on similar operating principle can optimize the gas used in the house. Smart Metering is unavoidable addition to the modern households of the future.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official position of TheTerse.in. Article had been published on as-is basis and TheTerse.in does not assume any responsibility or liability for any information(s) on this article.