[RFI] So-Called Utility "Smart Meters"

Roeder, Landon LRoeder at NESPOWER.COM
Fri Aug 15 09:57:28 EDT 2008

It is a common comment from our Meter Department that the "old" electro-mechanical meters run "slow".  There are several factors that will cause electro-mechanical to slow down as the age.  Consequently, your electric bill is likely to increase as the accuracy of the measurement is corrected.

According to ANSI standards, the tolerance for electronic and electro-mechanical meters is 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively.  At NES, our standard is 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.  Thus, the sensitivity of electronic meters is better.

Also (as Andy mentioned) depending on the governing body's regulations, utilities may charge extra when installing electronic meter.  Some disguise it as a surcharge for improving infrastructure, while others charge for new services (like online access to real-time data).

All together, it's not very unlikely to see a small increase in the monthly bill.

Landon D. Roeder
Engineer II, Test Section
Nashville Electric Service
Office: 615-747-3309

-----Original Message-----
From: rfi-bounces at contesting.com [mailto:rfi-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Andy
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 12:39 PM
To: rfi at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [RFI] So-Called Utility "Smart Meters"

A few comments...

It was said that there's at least two frequency ranges being used by these
meters: 900 MHz, and "PLC", which I believe means LF, MF, or HF frequencies
carried by the power lines, similar to BPL.  The utility companies have been
doing that (RF on the power lines) for *many* decades (pre-WWII), but it
wasn't very widespread till now.

So the risk of HF RFI could theoretically be there, depending on the system
used by your utility company.

>  All the companies that came
> and gave us a bid said, "your electric bill will go up
> because these meters are setup to read a small LED
> from your tv being off; but the old type is not that
> sensitive."

I'm a bit puzzled by this.  I think they are implying that the old
mechanical meters are somewhat inaccurate (nonlinear) when the power
consumption is very low, and the new electronic meters are more linear /
more accurate.  I suppose that could be true.  But the difference has got to
be pretty small, if they are talking about the tiny power drawn by devices
that are "off".

Heck, their new-fangled electronic meter itself consumes some power too, and
you will probably be charged for that.

There could be several factors causing the new meters to increase your
bills, including the above, plus being able to monitor (and charge for)
power factor, peak usage, changing rates throughout the day, etc.  A lot of
this depends on what they are permitted to charge for, in your state.

>  They also said "that they could stay in their
> truck and read your meter from the road, even if the
> meter is on the back side of your home."
> Your comments please.

Yes, that's the whole idea.


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