Author: Ron Davis

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A Smarter ‘Smart-Meter’ with Embedded Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)

SATEC’s trademark direct-digital-controller within metering hardware incorporates a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) serving a breadth of applications, defining what a ‘Smart Meter’ really is.

Why use a PLC in a meter?

Days of analogue instruments are fading, as is the use of ‘pulse only electrical meters’, or to the lesser extent, real-time-meters without internal memory and an internal clock. The evolution of multi-function electrical meter sees a wide gap in technology by vendors.

A traditional Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) can perform repetitive tasks reliably at low costs. By incorporating a PLC within an electrical meter, the real understanding of ‘what a Smart-Meter’ is can finally be realised.

Traditional control systems, such as a Building Management System (BMS) or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) platforms have tended to perform monitoring and control tasks for energy management applications.

The use of a PLC within a Smart-Meter is proven to improve communication bandwidth, lower processor scan-time and improve code efficiency and effectiveness by optimising throughput.

A Meter for Engineers & Automation Professionals

BMS, PLC and SCADA generally performs most metering measurement and monitoring solutions. The rise of Energy Management Systems (EMS) is improving electrical metering systems due to several factors, particularly since electrical measurements and monitoring applications can be so vast in their respective applications.

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Product News: BFM II ‘Modular Multi-Circuit Energy Metering System’ Reduces Space Installation Requirements, Improves Measurement Accuracy & Serves Multi-Disciplined Applications

SATEC’s continued advancement in metering technology introduces the next generation of a modular multi-circuit branch feeder metering for energy and load management. The BFM II has been designed with a modular format. Flexibility for either 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 54 Single-Phase circuits and/or combination of 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 Three-Phase circuits. Current Input Expansion-Modules can be added in the field for future circuit expansions.

In addition, the BFM II comes complete with TFT Colour Touch Screen Display. This display provides Waveform and Vector monitoring locally or remotely. Positive or Negative Electrical Flow are displayed in two colours – Red for negative power, ensuring best commissioning practices > reverse polarity CTs are avoided easily reducing errors in readings during meter validations.

Further Expansion-Module enhancements include Pulse-Input capabilities, with either ‘9 or 18 pulse Input Expansion-Modules’. This modularity now allowing multiple modules for up to ‘54 pulse inputs’ for water, gas and thermal meter monitoring. Input pulses are designed for dry contact or DC Wetted 24V, 125V or 250V DC. Use of inputs can also work with SATEC’s unique Embedded Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), for input status of other related electrical equipment.

Relay Output Control provides the Relay Expansion-Module for ‘9 output relays’ rated @ 5A, 250V AC, with maximum of 18 relay outputs. This advanced feature allows for use in ‘Remote Disconnect of consumer mains’ in billing applications in coordination with the National Smart Metering Protocol recommendations for Smart Meters. The relay outputs can also be used for Demand Response applications.

Analogue (input/output) Expansion-Module developments will provide further capabilities for monitoring and expanded functions.
Monitoring of analogue signals is possible: 4-20mA, 0-20mA, 0-1mA (100% overload), ± 1mA (100% overload), 10V.

Multiple Communication platforms are supported: RS-485, Ethernet TCP/IP, USB, Cellular (in certain regions) in addition to
Modbus RTU, Modbus TCP, DNP3.0 and DNP/TCP communication protocols.

SATEC provides software solutions for electricity billing, energy management and power quality forensic analysis.

Contact SATEC for further information – the eXperts in Energy Management

BFM II – User Manual
BFM II – Brochure

Achieving the Highest Calibration Standard ISO 17025 Certification: SATEC increases warranty to 5 Years and Guarantees Accuracy

SATEC Sticker guarantee logo
Accreditation to ISO 17025 is the recognised standard for calibration and testing laboratories to provide confidence to regulatory bodies, customers and potentially the courts/law for the test results produced. Manufactures laboratories that have been accredited to this international standard indicate there technical competence in their testing and calibration data, including the manufactures testing laboratory quality management system on a regular and continuous basis.

Laboratory accreditation can only be granted by an accreditation body, achieving ISO 17025 certification provides further valued added competency with a high level of assurances in the reliability and accuracy of the test results provided and enhancing global reputation.

Accreditation can take up to 24 months approximately to achieve, ensuring the competence and proficiency of the facility for the testing procedures are ongoing for long term commitment essential to upholding the ISO 17025 standard.

SATEC’s achievement in obtaining ISO 17025 provides further confidence with their metering product solutions with SATEC’s Australia’s limited warranty being extended from 3 years to 5 years from shipment effective January 2017 for products sold in Australia and New Zealand.

eXpertpower | Solar PV Billing: An Integrated Architecture for Metering & Monitoring Solutions, A How To Guide For Improving Financial ROI & ROA

10796272 - solar energy panels in the setting sun
The increase use of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems demand a reliable electricity metering, monitoring and billing platform. SATEC’s Integrated Architecture provides a future-proofing solution, improves awareness of asset monitoring and repeatability metrics and solves revenue recovery reliability.

Setting the Billing Scene

Due to changes by the Australia Government’s National Measurement Institute (NMI), electrical metering for trade measurement, or billing, has become more complex. NMI Pattern Approved electricity meters are required for this application.

Working beyond invoicing for Energy (kWh) Consumption only, complex tariffs and applications must be solved. For instance, Time of Use (TOU) tariffs are becoming more common – these are generally ‘Peak/Off-Peak/Shoulder’ type requirements, or time periods during a 24-hour period whereby electrical networks see more or less usage from consumers.

Step Tariffs, or Inclining Block Tariffs, see rates charged for energy consumption different based on the use – e.g. First ‘<100 kWh’ charged at $00.20 and next ‘>100kWh’ charged at ‘$00.15’. Maximum Demand application work towards penalties or rewards for lessening power demand during certain periods, usually the ‘Peak’ time in TOU arena. Moving on from this, TOU Maximum Demand or Seasonal TOU are further complex billing applications future trade measurement professional must consider.

Metering Choices – Which one is for me?

The challenge is choosing between low cost electrical metering solutions and investing in Advanced Smart-Meters incorporating features and benefits commonly misunderstood.

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