In the spotlight: Smart electrical metering
There has been a lot of hype surrounding smart electric meters recently. So much so that a recent forecast by Communication Technology Type, foresees the market to grow from USD 9.27-billion in 2018 to USD 11.33-billion by 2023. According to the forecast, the driving force behind this expected growth is a demand for advanced data monitoring, and various government policies in Europe and North America that favour the technology due to the benefits involved. Smart meters can also form part of smart grid initiatives, which is of course essential in the age we live in.
What are smart electric meters?
Smart electric meters are electrical devices that measure, collect and analyse electric consumption of households and commercial establishments and communicates the data to the electricity supplier. Smart electric meters, also known as Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) are different from regular energy monitors or Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) devices, due to an AMI’s ability to communicate to and from the device (two-way communication). AMI’s not only involve real-time sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to function but also require an energy provider to have an integrated system with smart data management technology in place.
Benefits of the technology to end-users
- It can lead to energy savings – AMI technology displays real-time energy consumption. This data could be utilised to implement energy saving strategies.
- It provides detailed energy consumption statistics – Knowing which machines consume the most energy at which intervals for e.g. is a magnificent feat, which could lead to better planning, energy savings and reduced costs.
- It is exceptionally accurate – The ability to receive accurate data in real-time is the first step in remedying any energy wastage on the factory floor.
Challenges of the technology
- Security risks – Due to the involvement of the Internet of Things, cyber attacks are of course a concern for companies using the technology and the utilities supplying it. Security protocols and software would need to be installed in order to protect both parties.
- Privacy risks – Some have argued that the level of detail provided might violate an individual’s right to privacy.
- Rollout is expensive – Initial investment in smart metering is expensive and could curb the technology’s growth.
What can smart metering mean for Africa’s utility companies?
Smart metering can enhance and streamline the way utilities in Africa function. It can save costs, improve revenue collection, lighten the administrative workload, limit faulty reports, fund development plans, to highlight but a few advantages.
At AGE Technologies, our team of electrical experts can provide you with a superior and cost-effective smart meter solution.
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