More efficient billing. This quest has been the primary business case behind smart meter innovations over the past few decades. And just as Automatic Meter Reading (AMR), and then Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), changed the face of smart utility network potential, meter hardware itself has also evolved well beyond billing.
"In the early days of AMI, the meter was all about bettering meter reads," explains Kenny O’Dell, director of marketing, electric metering at Sensus. "Sure, we were concerned with revenue protection and identifying behavior changes, but the primary focus for the network and the meters was billing and customer satisfaction."
Now, as two-way network communications allow for more granular data—even as frequent as minute-by-minute—the question becomes whether or not meters can capture all that data effectively and securely.
Smarter meters unlock grid potential.
Along with technology in every industry, meter processing power and speeds have improved significantly over the past decade. According to O’Dell, meters have been rapidly advancing, with capabilities that now include remote disconnect, encryption, and firmware download. "The code inside the meter is incredibly sophisticated as compared to even five years ago," he explains. "In fact, phase detection and voltage reporting are now at the cutting edge of meter intelligence. It’s really exciting."
Of course, security is a priority within every industry, including utilities. Beyond network protection, there is also more focus than ever on meter security. "Encryption was never an issue previously," O’Dell says, "but now it’s an expectation that meters support secure communication between the meter and utility."
No matter what AMI solution an electric utility has in place, it’s the meter’s level of intelligence that taps into the potential of the grid. Of course, the meter must measure usage—that’s its primary job. And the more granular that data, the better. But today’s meter technology provides the capacity for hundreds of applications.
Meter intelligence for today’s grid expectations
Stratus IQ™, the next-gen electric residential meter from Sensus, takes measurement to a whole new level by monitoring and providing feedback with enhanced data. From two-way counting and options for high or low granularity of reads to high-precision voltage monitoring and outage alarms, Stratus IQ has the intelligence to deliver smart better.
“The Stratus IQ is the most advanced meter on the market today” O’Dell explains. “With high-precision accuracy and voltage measurement capacity, utilities can more closely monitor grid performance.” This next-gen meter not only gives utility C&I power in a residential meter, but it is also obsessively designed to be indestructible. Designed with microcontrollers that allow for increases in RAM, codespace, etc., it’s also one of the first scalable meters available.
Because the Stratus IQ reads voltage and gives alarms when a drop occurs, utilities have the information they need to remotely troubleshoot many common voltage issues, resulting in more efficient deployment of trucks and resources. And this is significant. “The Stratus IQ is able to read the quality of the electricity—this is an entirely new category of capability,” O’Dell says. This ability to monitor voltage creates a substantial shift to the longstanding pursuit of better billing. “Ultimately,” O’Dell continues, “both the provider and consumer want to know that safe and reliable power is being delivered. And the Stratus IQ is a means to this modern end."
Visit the Sensus booth at DistribuTECH to get your first look at Stratus IQ. And experience the next level of smart grid. It’s go time.