Theodore Parasquakos developed a sensor-based monitoring system that was used for security, fire, medical, and meter-reading alarm systems with digital transmission in 1972, while working with Boeing in Alabama. This technology was derived from the automatic telephone line identification system known as Caller ID. Paraskevakos received its patent from the United States two years later. In 1977, he founded Metretek, Inc., which developed and manufactured the first smart meters. Since the system was developed before the Internet, Metretek used an IBM Series 1 mini-computer.
A smart meter is an electronic device that records information such as electrical energy consumption, voltage levels, current and power factor. Smart meters send information to subscribers for greater clarity of consumption behavior and electricity suppliers to monitor the system and issue bills. Smart meters typically record energy in near real time and report regularly at programmable intervals throughout the day. Smart meters allow two-way communication between the meter and the central system. Such an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) differs from an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system in that it enables two-way communication between the meter and the supplier (systems capable of meter reading only are not AMI). The communication from the meter to the network may be wireless or through hard wired connections such as PLC. Common wireless communication such as:
- GPRS (cellular connection)
- Wi-Fi (readily available)
- Ad hoc wireless networks through Wi-Fi
- Wireless mesh networks
- LoRa (Low power long-range wireless)
- Wize (High radio penetration, open, using 169 MHz frequency)
- Zigbee (Low power with low data rate)
- Wi-SUN (Smart Utility Networks)
The term smart meter often refers to an electricity meter, but it may also mean a meter used in other industries, such as a water meter, a gas meter, and a district heating meter.
Estimates show that by the end of 2024, the number of smart electricity, water and gas meters installed in the world will reach more than 1.2 billion.
Smart meters may be part of a smart grid, but they don’t constitute a smart grid by themselves.
Communication is a critical technological requirement for smart meters. Each meter must be able to reliably and securely transmit the collected data to a central location. Among the suggested solutions are: use of cellular networks (GPRS), pager, satellite, radio and power line connection. Not only the medium used for communication purposes, but also the type of network used is very important. In this way, the following can be found: fixed wireless networks, wireless mesh networks, and wireless ad hoc networks. Areas that are limited in facilities such as villages, hard-to-reach places such as mountainous areas, and areas that are not served by wireless and internet service providers have very different communication problems than urban facilities.
In addition to connecting to the head-end network, smart meters may need to be part of a local network that can include an internal display and a hub to connect one or more meters to the head end. Network technologies vary from country to country, but include power line communications, wireless ad hoc network, and Zigbee.
ANSI C12.18 is an ANSI standard that describes a protocol used for two-way communication with a meter and is mostly used in North America. The C12.18 standard was written specifically for meter communications over an ANSI Type 2 optical port and specifies the details of the low-level protocol. ANSI C12.19 specifies the data tables to be used. ANSI C12.21 is an extension of C12.18 written for modem rather than optical communications, so it is more suitable for automatic meter reading. ANSI C12.22 is a communication protocol for remote communications.
IEC61107 is a communication protocol for smart meters published by IEC that is widely used for electricity meters in the European Union. The IEC62056 protocol has been introduced to replace it, but it is still widely used due to its simplicity and acceptance. This protocol sends ASCII data using the serial port. IEC61107 is related to the FLAG protocol and is sometimes wrongly confused with it.
The Open Smart Grid Protocol (OSGP) is published by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and is used in conjunction with the ISO/IEC14908 Control Network Standard for smart metering and smart grid applications. So far, millions of smart meters based on OSGP have been deployed around the world. In July 2015, the OSGP Consortium announced the release of a new security protocol (OSGP-AES-128-PSK), that deprecated the original OSGP-RC4-PSK security protocol, which was found to be vulnerable.
There is a growing trend towards using TCP/IP technology as a common communication platform for smart meter applications, so that utilities can deploy multiple communication systems, while using IP technology as a common management platform. A universal metering interface enables the development and mass production of smart meters and smart grid devices before communication standards are set, and then the corresponding communication modules are easily added or changed. This reduces the risk of investing in the wrong standard and also allows a single product to be used globally even if regional communication standards differ.
Another critical technology for smart meter systems is enterprise IT, which integrates smart meter networks with utility applications such as billing and CIS. This includes the meter data management system.
Meter Data Management (MDM) refers to software that performs data storage and management for large amounts of data delivered by smart metering systems. This data mainly consists of usage data and events imported from servers that manage datasets in Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) systems. MDM may include meter data analysis, analyzing data sent by electric smart meters that record electrical energy consumption.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) refers to systems that measure, collect and analyze energy consumption and with measuring devices such as electricity meters, gas meters, heat meters and water meters, according to They communicate on request or according to the program. These systems include hardware, software, communications, displays, consumer energy controllers, customer related systems, meter data management software, and supplier business systems.
Government agencies and utilities are turning toward Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems as part of larger “smart grid” initiatives. AMI allows commands to be sent to the subscriber meter for multiple purposes, including time-based pricing information, demand response actions, or remote service interruption.
The network between measuring devices and business systems enables the collection and distribution of information to customers, suppliers, utility companies and service providers. Using the information provided by the system, consumers can change their normal consumption patterns to take advantage of lower prices. Energy distribution companies can also use pricing to curb the growth of peak demand consumption.