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Smart meters

Posted by bus_driver (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 13, 12 at 9:46

I claim no special knowledge of these. I do have accounts with two different power suppliers. The one serving my residence is a Co-op and they recently installed meters made by Landis+Gyr. Digital readout on what appears to be LCD. One of the co-op engineers told me that system would be fully operational in about 6 months. He says that the communication from/to the meter is on the 60Hz power line. Some systems, I am told, use radio signals.
The engineer says that this system does not notify the co-op of power outages. My imagination had suggested that a power outage, even of split second duration, would alert the POCO by a non-reading. That would be, my opinion, one of the major advantages to the customer of the smart meters. We have, on average, about one split-second outage per week, often while the Sun is shining and the wind is calm. Such outages are quite annoying and inconvenient. Unless notified, the POCO does not know of nor investigate
the cause of those outages.
I had also assumed that the system would permit remote disconnect of power for non-payment of bills or for other reasons. I feared that hackers could wreak havoc with that ability.
The other, investor-owned, POCO has a few meters that look to be smart meters. But not yet operational as such in this area. They are more sensitive to small current draws than are the old meters with rotary dials. On one vacant property, the controls for the gas furnace/AC were using about 2KWH per month while the property was vacant. The old meters would not register such draws if that was the only draw.
So apparently there are several different types of smart meters with differing capabilities.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Smart meters

The meter (even a smart one) is not a switch. It can't turn things off. The e350 has an option to CONTROL an additional switch, but you know you'd have that if it was installed.

The meters are not without security as what you can do if you have gotten in is to reset the usage stats, but such would most certainly be detected by the power company when they notice the meter running backwards.


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RE: Smart meters

The Landis+Gry digitial meter we have is read remotely by radio signal. I know when it is read because it sounds like a cellphone ringing.


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RE: Smart meters

the only energy they are going to 'save' is when time of use billing is implemented and you reduce consumption in the face of your skyrocketing bill.

Large commercial power users have had this type of billing in many places for years, along with power factor adjusted rates, peak usage adjusted rates, and anything else the POCO can get past state utility commissions.

The fact that outages are not reported is an important clue.

BOHICA


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RE: Smart meters

It is possible that Landis+Gyr makes more than one type of "smart" meter. I have no reason to think that the co-op engineer would try to mislead me.
The meter has Type ALF Form 2S CL200 240V 3W 60Hz TA=30 Kh7.2. At another place is -1795 and below that is 0612. The POCO ID and the apparent serial number are there but no reason to post those.


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RE: Smart meters

" I feared that hackers could wreak havoc with that ability. "

I am not sure that this was your worry, but if they shut off power to a significant number of customers all at once, the system would have to go down!


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RE: Smart meters

Some sources indicate that Landis+Gyr has been acquired by Toshiba.
With devices such as this, the initial demand is incredible as utilities equip their systems. Then as that is completed, the demand is only for units as the POCO system grows and for replacements.


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RE: Smart meters

You are correct, Landis+Gyr was purchased by Toshiba a little over a year ago. However, you are not correct in your thinking regarding the business model.

It's more of the razors and blades approach - Landis+Gyr could basically give away the meters but the AMR/AMI software licensing, data servers, data management, support and infrastructure is where they are making their money.

While the communications method (RF, cellular, PLC) is an interchangeable module within the meter, and allows for third party integration, the data protocol and software is still licensed through Landis+Gyr.

The Landis+Gyr smart meters with an internal 200 amp remotely controlled switch are identified with an "SD" after the type which indicates "Service Disconnect." They can be used to turn off service, throttle service to a mininum amount, or setup prepaid accounts.

The GE I-210+ meters provide an internal switch option as well.

The basic smart meters provide "basic" information back to the utility company while the step-up meters provide more features such as service disconnect, time-of-use, and VA readings, and drop-off notification. Some GE meters even have a "tilt-sensor" built-in and most read both sides of the disconnect switch to see what's going on.

I've had one now, well actually two for the past 3 years on PG&E since the initial GE meter stopped communicating on an RF Mesh network and was replaced with a Landis+Gyr AXR-SD meter - Full AMI capabilities, Data Recorder, and Service Disconnect.

Don't like it, but prefer it to giving giving them a gate code and anytime access to my property.


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