Over the past decade, smart meter usage has sky-rocketed worldwide – and for good reason: these handy, high-tech devices provide highly-accurate readings, automatically. The innovation serves as a valuable time and money-saving solution for utility companies, and with the elimination of estimated billing, smart meters also help to put customers’ minds at ease.
But, just because the popularity of these gas and energy measurement devices have been officially cemented as an ‘industry standard,’ doesn’t mean that one size – or model, rather – fits all. Let’s see why.
According to data published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, smart meter usage is projected to quadruple worldwide by 2020, with China currently being the most prominent national user. In other regions of the world, most notably in Europe, smart meters are being utilized by regulatory bodies to monitor energy savings mandates. North America is trailing just behind but is also considered to be one of the more sophisticated markets as the technology has been used there, most notably in the United States, for longer.
These days, some investor-owned utility companies and small and/or underfunded municipalities are unable to take advantage of the technology as it does require large upfront investment. But, for the utility companies that are able to make the investment, smart meters and the benefits that come with them (i.e., automated data collection, reporting, network operation, and archiving), help to save plenty of money in the long run.
As with most cutting-edge tech, the magic of the smart meter lies less in the physical device itself and more in its connectivity capabilities. Because sensitive information will be delivered automatically, using the meter as a display vessel, of sorts, it’s important that it is capable of maintaining both consistencies, as well as iron-clad privacy. Due to these requirements, utility companies should first ensure that all smart meters include physical and communicative features like these:
Currently, there are three different types of smart meters available, each of which is designed to support different levels of energy consumption and usage. Here are the different models, according to Enemalta:
Ostensibly, the model of meter selected should be suggested by your supplier based on your customer base. In most cases, utility companies will require a mixture of all three types – GISM, GIST, and GISS – depending on the demographics of their specific service area.
While there may not be a notable amount of diversity when it comes to smart meter types, with the similar global longevity policies in place, it’s the adjoining technologies that support them that should be paid the most attention. Make sure that your smart meter supplier is one that is security and support-focused, and always keep in them in the loop about any and all of your expansion-related goals. The key to selecting the right smart meter is to ensure that you give it the chance to stay reliable well into the future.