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

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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

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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

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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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Ensuring your meters are future compliant

Ensuring Electricity Smart Meters are Future Compliant

Electricity meters come in many forms. Understanding features and capabilities, as well as the requirements of an application, can ensure that today’s meter will meet tomorrow’s requirements.
There are many electricity metering options available today, with a range of features and capabilities. Many low-cost meters lack the functionality to ensure these devices will remain useful in the future. Accuracy, sampling rate and the electrical parameters measured can vary greatly from meter to meter, but more complex capabilities are where the future truly lies.

Smart Features

Tomorrow’s meters will need to encompass time of use (TOU) tariff functions, demand capabilities, communications for automatic meter reading (AMR), regulatory approvals, reading import and export of power, data logging capabilities, real-time clock (RTC), disconnect/reconnect capability, read and write in registers for remote control, as well as reprogramming and analysis of data for forensic investigation. Ensuring ‘energy smart’ meters are feature rich means now that future needs and market or regulatory changes will be met, reducing the likelihood of meter churn and overall lifecycle costs.
Applications such as solar energy generation may require metering to have four-quadrant measurement. In addition, interval metering with 15 or 30 minute data logging with date/time stamping is essential in today’s world, while gross and net metering require smart devices with the appropriate four-quadrant measurement functionality. Interval meters record energy or other electrical measurements at 15, 30 or 60 minutes intervals, or other intervals of time, providing date/time stamp of recorded data. Electricity and energy meters that incorporate event logs can provide additional information and date/time stamping for analysis in the event of problems such as voltage outages or reprogramming by unauthorised personnel.

Water and Gas

Not just electricity the expansion of additional energy readings for cold and hot water, gas and greywater monitoring can be an integral part of smart meters which incorporate pulse inputs. Pulses from water and gas meters can be sent to the smart meter, using pulse data logging, which can in turn be forwarded to billing systems and/ or building management systems (BMS) and other third-party software AMR solutions.

Accuracy Standards

Improved measurement standards, such as Class 0.5S accuracy to AS/IEC62053-22, have led to increased accuracy performance in smart metering without any major cost impact. Class 1.0 accuracy meters are widely accepted in the market. However, advances in standards coupled with new technology has provided for enhanced measurement with Class 0.5S, particularly at low loads and other electrical conditions.

Demand Capabilities

Energy Meters measure and record consumption based on kilowatt hours (kWh) in addition consumers may be charged on their demand period which could be measured in either kilowatts (Kw) or kVA {total of real power (Kw) and reactive power (Kvar) } demand structures will vary widely, but it is important your smart meter supports demand calculations.

Real Time Clock (RTC)

Having a clock (RTC) on board Energy meters is an important ingredient for functions as tariffs, demand issues, event logs, and data logging profiling which can provide sequence of date/time stamping.
Smart Energy meters have RTC, but clock specifications can vary. Ensure RTC are battery backed to ensure date/time stamp is not lost in the event of power loss. Some RTC loose date/time and have to be reset on the event of a power loss. Others may retain date/time stamp for up to 3 days using a capacitor.
RTC with battery backup should retain data for a period of up to 12 months or more, in addition the battery ageing life should be good for upwards of 10 years.

Space Savings

Advances in technology have improved the space-to-design ratio performance of smart meters. Reduced meter design space additionally reduces required panel space, while ensuring that operational and performance specifications are not compromised. Space is a premium in embedded networks, in both new installations and in existing buildings where retrofits or upgrades are required. Providing space savings using advanced smart metering designs can provide space savings upwards of 90%, when compared with typical ‘bottom up connect’ utility meters. This reduces the triple bottom line and provides savings across the board; from the architect to the builder or developer and the electrical contractor.

Sustainability Support

Smart meters that incorporate algorithms to profile energy usage showing daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly readings reduces the burden of the BMS or any third party software solution to calculate this format in the software. This function provides electricity, water and gas usage information in an easy-to-read format and ensures data is presented in a way that supports the reporting for sustainability rating tools and schemes including Green Star and NABERS, without the need for dedicated software.

Improved Communications

Advanced communications capability provides further benefits, allowing the meter to be read locally or remotely. Initially, the use of RS232 protocol provided only a 1:1 ratio of a master/slave relationship and the use of RS485 improved this to a ratio of 1:32. These topologies provide only limited communication, however, as software connections are restricted to a single master polling the downstream nodes or devices. Using Ethernet TCP/IP, as found in smart metering, provides multiple TCP socket support and therefore has the added advantage of providing flexible ‘multiple’ relationship configurations. As we move into the age of Internet of Things (IoT), smart meters are increasingly connected directly to the internet and the addition of an application programming interface (API) ensures interoperability via third-party software applications. As the NBN is rolled out across Australia, smart metering connectivity is inherently NBN-ready, or easily connected to the internet via ADSL-2, 3G or 4G, and data access is available to the end user without the restrictions traditionally associated with proprietary data.

Advanced Assurance

Trade billing measurement in Australia must comply with the National Measurement Institute of Australia (NMI) M6-1 standard, which provides assurance to the end user that the meter will continue to operate and function under varying metrology conditions, thus ensuring repeatability with accuracy standards. When considering the available options in smart energy metering, ensuring that the vendor has the required technical knowledge and can offer ready support should always be factored in, as should the warranty period on offer and the proposed warranty on accuracy performance.

BFMII Branch Feeder Monitor

BFM II Metering Advanced Technology

SATEC’s continued advancement in metering technology introduces the next generation of multi-circuit branch feeder metering for energy and load management. The BFM II is a modular format for 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 54 single phase circuits and/or combination of 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 three phase circuits.

Enhancements in metering technology provide ever expanding capabilities for the Energy Management sector; including the ability to monitor and provide data logging for cold water, hot water, grey water and gas, supporting a large number of pulse inputs for expansion of energy monitoring.

Increased memory provides further mechanisms to enhance the meters functions for more advanced applications that customers are seeking. The constant market change in the Energy industry dictate metering advancements for today and into the future.

The ability to reduce cabinet space and provide ease of installation along with improved support for value added functions such as programming, data validation, commissioning on site ensuring the complete solution is fully functional are capabilities that ensure the customer’s needs are fully met  with energy metering.

Software solutions for electricity billing, energy management and power quality forensic analysis further enhance the credibility of ongoing support and the display of energy data either locally or remotely.

Energy Metering Advancements

Continued advancements in metering technology and functionality are the boundaries that SATEC continue to pursue with metering solutions.

Increased memory functions along with expansions for pulse inputs from hot water, cold water, grey water and gas meters with a modular approach are all capabilities SATEC (Australia) will be releasing throughout the course of 2016.

The ability to bring in 12 pulse inputs to a smart meter configured for three (3) single phase circuits, providing up to 4 pulses per single phase input with smart Ethernet Communications TCP/IP provides a unique approach for smart metering within embedded networks. Ethernet communications supporting four (4) open sockets allowing full openness of information for multiple software platforms to the back bone of embedded networks improves accessibility to data for multiple stakeholders.

Energy registers for daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly readings within the SATEC metering device ensures the BMS system is not burdened with traffic data congestions, allowing the BMS to free up network bandwidth.

WEB based technology for ease of accessing data for consumers provides the flexibility and the power of choice in consumer’s hands.

SATEC’s solutions in electricity billing and energy management software sets the boundaries with the ability to provide NEM12 and NEM 13 data, providing further value added capabilities to embedded networks for future needs under the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

SATEC’s value added support for data validation, programming of meters, forensic analysis, software and hardware solutions provide the technology to keep customers aligned for the ever changing energy market in Australia.

SATEC High Accuracy Current Sensors for Energy Meters

High Accuracy Current Sensors (HACS)

SATEC’s range of current transformers referred to as High Accuracy Current Sensors (HACS) are designed for flexibility for new and retrofit applications for Energy Metering. SATEC HACS used with SATEC Electrical metering hardware EM132, EM133, PM130EH, PM135EH, BFM136 provide a complete system measuring accuracy of Class 1.0 or better (energy meter + HACS = Class 1.0 or better).

The HACS can be extended up to 200 metres from any SATEC meter using 1.5mm2 cable providing solutions where restrictions to access to loads is difficult due to installation problems.

The SATEC HACS have an accuracy Class 0.5, providing readings as low as 0.1% of the current range. HACS are available in 100A, 200A, 400A, 800A, 1200A, 2000A and 3000A current ranges.

Interfacing with third party CT’s already installed in the field with existing installations is possible with the SATEC HACS via the secondary of the 5A or 1A input with appropriate programming of the SATEC meter to suit the installation.

Managing Metering Assets under ISO55000

Managing Metering Assets under ISO55000

  • Are you managing your Energy Metering assets?
  • Do you manage your Metering assets manually?
  • Can you retrieve asset information from meter display?
  • Do you have records in place for Model Numbers?
  • Do you have Serial Number records?
  • Do you have Firmware/Software Version?
  • Can you identify MAC Address if using Ethernet Communications?
  • How do you manage Warranty Replacements?
  • Do you have a history of event logs?
  • How can you manage metering re-validation expiring dates?
  • Can your Energy Meter provide this information via communications interrogation?
  • What procedures are in place to validate metering data?

Metering is now an important asset in all requirements for the management of Energy performance criterias. Managing those assets today is greater than past requirements ensuring such needs as traceability, maintenance, testing, password security, validation and re-validation, age of asset etc. Any absence of procedures in place to ensure current and future records are adequate will result in a difficult task when reconciling past, present and future installations.

Maximising the value of the asset from its installation time to its end of life, during maintenance, testing, re-validation, re-calibration, firmware upgrades, reliability, replacement, diagnostics, ensures any long term management policies are applicable with local legislation, regulatory and statutory requirements that may or may not be in place today. This also provides managing the whole life cost of the metering asset in addition to change of management asset history.

SATEC offers the solution with “Smart Metering Asset” providing access to information on the SATEC Metering installed via communications RS485 and/or Ethernet TCP/IP with Modbus registers providing:

  • Device Serial Number
  • Device ID Number
  • Device Model Name
  • Device Firmware Version Number
  • Device Firmware Build Number
  • Ethernet MAC Address
  • Date/Time
  • Event Logs
  • Voltage (VT Ratio)
  • Current (CT Ratio)
  • System Configuration

 With ISO 55001 reference to data management, dependability, equipment management, commissioning process, energy management, installing “Smart Metering Asset” will enable an efficient process to manage metering assets ongoing and assist with managing Energy Audits per AS/NZS3598 along with NABERS and Green Star metering data validation.

All SATEC meters include test reports providing traceability to tested standards including where applicable test certificates per NMI NITP 14 for NMI Electricity Billing metering.

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Problems with your billing system? Introducing SATEC’s integrated platform for embedded networks.

eXpertPower Energy Billing Software

• Can you rely on the integrity of your Electricity billing software?
• Is your billing software occasionally missing data that has to be approximated or averaged?
• Is you billing system using ‘manual reading’ or traditional communications without ‘true interval data’?
• Can your electricity billing system back-fill data automatically from interval data readings or data logged memory from your metering system?

Tenancy billing software provides a mechanism to record consumption from sources such as Electricity, Water, Air, Gas, Solar, Wind, Steam and other fuel sources and provides efficient means to invoice tenants within buildings, shopping centres, mixed-use developments, data centres etc. Traditional methods such as, manual reads or traditional communication ‘polling’ techniques, are inherent to approximations or averaging and do not provide a true representation of actual amounts.

exPertPower electricity Billing Software

WEB based software technology provides the mechanism to monitor various devices remotely over the WEB using standard internet browsers. Information is readily available for easy reporting. Usage patterns can be profiled and compared across multiple sites with information available in real-time. Comparisons and profiling of tenant’s usage patterns is possible with transparent data, and receiving invoices electronically and automatically provides more effective use of time and resources for all parties.

SATEC’s eXpertPower™ enterprise billing software is a powerful platform providing customised capabilities for extensive energy billing applications covering cost calculations such as: Time of Use (TOU) tariffs, demand or capacity charges, Transmission Use of System (TUOS) charges, Distributed Use of System (DUOS) charges, verification and benchmark energy efficiency programs, rebates, etc

Energy Billing Software - iPad

eXpertPower™ provides the ability to manage the movement of tenants in/out for billing periods, providing full sub-metering solutions for multiple tenants and the provision to profile and compare usage patterns enhancing real-time decision making. eXpertPower™ manages overlapping of billing periods automatically, prohibiting user error when generating invoices. It also easily transmits information to accounting systems, facility management software or ERP though use of the latest WEB technologies based on Microsoft’s .Net Framework – integration is now limitless for the enterprise!

Together with SATEC’s range of “Pattern Approved” Metering hardware, a total solution can be provided to ensure the analytical flow and the integrity of data is maintained for a complete billing and load management system. Complete integrity can be guaranteed by utilising data logging memory instead of manual reads or ‘polling’, such is done in many traditional billing systems.

Integrated Energy Billing Software

SATEC provides a total integrated billing system stakeholders can rely on. eXpertPower™ is offered as both an On-Premises solution and Software as a Service (SaaS – in the Cloud) making it a truly scalable, flexible and powerful system whilst providing many benefits to consumers and operators. With limitless possibilities in electrical billing solutions, eXpertPower™ covers all sectors from residential through to utility.

Find out more about eXpertPower™ Electricity Billing Software >>