This article offers an overview of the various component options for smart meter design and how they can improve the operation of the meters into which they are designed.
Utility meters―once hidden away in cobwebby basements and behind shrubbery―are now emerging as leading players in energy conservation efforts. The latest generation of “smart” electricity, water, and gas meters now offer both commercial and residential customers the information they need to use these resources more wisely. They also allow utility companies to monitor usage remotely, largely eliminating the need for manual readings; they can even make it possible to smooth grid power peaks spot tampering, leakage, excess temperatures, etc.
The switch from traditional electromechanical meters to smart meters presents a variety of challenges for meter designers as they strive to develop solutions that are compatible with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). This allows integrating smart meters into the fast-growing Internet of Things (IoT), which supports remote communication and fault detection. However, one thing that has remained the same is that the utility companies that install these meters need them to be robust enough to operate reliably for decades and provide accurate measurements over the course of their lifetimes. To do that, they must incorporate a growing array of circuit protection, sensing, and power control components.