Standard Meters

Metering isn’t the most fascinating part of your energy story. Most of you will likely get regular reminders to update their supplier with reads from their electricity and/or gas meters. These infrequent reads give a snapshot in time and the billing received is based on estimated consumption through the period. There are a number of standard dumb meters but all rely on metering agents or customers sending in reads regularly.

Gas metering had an early start with the first meter being developed by Samuel Klegg in 1817 with the first prepayment meter being patented in 1870!

Electricity meters were first introduced in the 1880s. Geek alert… For direct current (DC) it was a straightforward given the measurement of the charge in ampere-hours and a consistent voltage (P=IV). For AC however it was only in 1889 that the Bláthy-meter invented by the Hungarian was introduced that could measure through the induction the power consumed.

Smart Meters

Since then however while technology has improved for example to counter fraudulent tampering and different tariffs at different times of day. There is a slow revolution taking place and in the UK. By the end of 2020 there should be 53 million smart meters installed to replace the current ones. These meters represent a shift into the data age for the metering processes. Every smart meter installed will automatically read and send to your utility. The data will be presented to consumers which allows for near real time monitoring and the ability for users to change behaviour to better manage energy consumption. It will also end the need to read your meter manually and send to the utility and the end of estimated bills. For loads more info visit Smart Energy GB.

Criticism of the programme has been significant through its life. The benefits estimates have reduced significantly.

In the UK three tranches of legislation were introduced between November 2012 and July 2013 that mandated the rollout. Changes to rollout plan and timelines have taken place through the years but that’s for a different story…

Globally several countries have led the Smart Meter charge with Italy having the most aggressive however, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands and many other examples have seen large scale deployments. Many more countries have an ongoing rollout.

Do you have a smart meter yet? What benefits have you seen?

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