Smart metering/power quality

  • BEAMAEnergy gives ‘smart’ metering thumbs-up

    Following the EU’s approval of a new draft directive aimed at helping consumers reduce energy consumption, BEAMAEnergy says cost-efficient ‘smart’ metering and controls systems in the home are the solution for future energy-saving and carbon emission reductions.

    The director of BEAMAEnergy, Howard Porter,

  • Smart metering top of the agenda

    In an attempt to increase awareness of smart metering technology, Beama (the British electrotechnical manufacturing body) has launched the
    European Smart Metering Alliance (ESMA).
    The project is part-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme, and seeks to maximise the environmental benefits of Article 13 of the Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive (ESD).
    “By 2008, all European Member States have to implement the ESD, which requires customers to be given more information on their energy usage, and receive more timely and accurate billing,” said Alliance project leader John Parsons.
    “Through the Alliance, we’re once again at the forefront of developing the case for smart meter technology, and taking the initiative. We’re actively communicating, with our partners, its undoubted benefits Europe-wide.”

  • Acquisition creates metering giant

    Itron has completed the acquisition of Actaris Metering Systems (Actaris) for e800m plus the retirement of debt.
    Actaris operates in electricity, gas and water metering, primarily outside of North America. Itron is a supplier of AMR systems and electricity meters in North America. The combined company will be one of the largest electricity, gas and water metering companies in the world.
    The acquisition will allow Actaris to offer Itron’s AMR and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technologies, software and systems expertise to customers outside of North America, and expand Actaris gas and water meter opportunities in North America. The combined company will have more than 8,000 utility customers, 33 manufacturing facilities, customers in more than 60 countries and have more than 8,500 employees.
    Actaris will continue to operate as normal. Malcolm Unsworth, Itron’s former vice president of hardware solutions, has moved to Brussels to assume the day-to-day operations of the company as Actaris’ senior vice-president and chief operating officer. Actaris will continue to operate its electric, gas and water businesses. Itron will report financial results for Actaris as a standalone business with these three operating segments, in addition to reporting financial results for Itron’s previously established hardware and software segments with sales and operations primarily concentrated in North America.

  • Advertisement feature - Improved metering to maximise investment

    Intelligent energy management starts with the application of logic. Those responsible for a building's energy consumption rightly realise that wastage needs to be prevented. However, what is less obvious is  monitoring utilities is not just about measuring kilowatt-hours. In actual fact, reducing utility bills can be a minor part of the commercial advantage of intelligent monitoring, because a greater proportion of the potential for savings is, like an iceberg, out of view

    The integration of energy management and energy efficiency has shifted to an even higher priority as energy price hikes reach epic inflationary proportions. Energy, always an overhead, is now eroding profits and adding to costs at alarming levels.

    While focus tends to be on passive energy measures - such as installing energy saving luminaries and other energy efficient equipment - the real key to achieving maximum and sustainable savings is by adopting active energy consumption countermeasures.
    To use a simple analogy, fitting energy saving lamps and tubes merely mitigates for the otherwise higher wastage when the lamps are left switched on in unoccupied areas. Fitting room occupancy sensors can therefore be regarded as active control that thereby maximises the savings of the entire lighting system.

    In the broader arena of energy efficiency in buildings the task of identifying where energy is used, when and how much is used is critical to targeting the areas that are capable of being controlled. As one obvious example, if the draw on power is identified in an unmanned office area at night, the likelihood is that lighting has been left on, or even that equipment is powered in standby modes.

    Logic is power
    PowerLogic ION technology from Schneider Electric offers an integrated solution to monitoring and measuring power consumption with a rapid return on investment. Professionals from finance departments to building services engineers and premises and facilities managers use key performance indicators (KPIs), analysis and control tools to cut energy and maintenance costs without compromising the comfort, safety or productivity of occupants.

    By installing a network of advanced PowerLogic meters throughout power distribution, building and backup systems, users can continuously track all their utilities and monitor equipment conditions. On the premise than one cannot manage what they cannot measure, enterprise-level software helps identify and sustain energy savings, accurately allocate or segment costs, optimise multi-site utility contracts and maximise reliability.

    PowerLogic addresses a range of important power and energy management applications. Users can measure efficiency, reveal opportunities and verify savings. In multiple occupancy buildings tenants can be sub-billed for energy costs, while in single occupancy commercial situations energy costs can be allocated to departments or processes. Judicious management can reduce peak demand surcharges and even help reduce power factor penalties (reactive energy charges).

    Effective metering has further benefits such as strengthening rate negotiation with energy suppliers; identifying billing discrepancies; and validating that power quality complies with the energy contract. From a facility management point of view metering can help maximise existing infrastructure capacity; support proactive maintenance; verify the reliable operation of equipment; and improve response to power quality-related problems.

    Schneider Electric offers a range of easy to install products, which already incorporate the PowerLogic metering solution. These products are backed by professional surveys that include energy efficiency audits, asset optimisation studies and maintenance services - all delivered by Schneider Electric Services and Projects. Schneider Electric provides ease of use and choice by the installer, and has a standardised equipment offer with the Powerlogic PM750 meter. This has a dual output, pulsed and Modbus so it can be installed and communicate with most Building Management Systems (BMS) without modification.
    Powerlogic metering can enable compliance with Part L2 of the Building Regulations and can be used in all kinds of switchboards, distribution panels, motor control centres and multi-metering measurement centres.

    Over a building's lifetime, millions of pounds may be invested in equipment and the energy that runs it. Determining where excess equipment capacity exists, where it is being overstressed and where to balance loads on substations, MCCBs and other power equipment, is tricky and often left to guess work. Where validation is expected, this is clearly not enough. Energy efficiencies must be compared between departments and capacity in systems identified. Technology can accurately do this better than humans. By effectively monitoring electrical and piped utilities, equipment life can be increased and trend information can be utilised for further cost saving advantages.

    Breaking the mould on monitoring
    In the application of MCCBs, Schneider Electric has recently pioneered a fresh approach by incorporating not just incredible levels of electrical safety, through its protection and isolation functionality but also energy efficiency metering and monitoring.

    The launch of the Compact NSX MCCB embodies features that provide all of these critical functions.

    With options for monitoring and communication functions, the new range of MCCBs is ready for current and future needs. Setting a new standard in its class; protection functions are enhanced and for the first time both energy consumption and power can be monitored at the device.

    The originality lies in how the devices measure, process and display data, either directly on the LCD screen, on the switchboard front panel or via a monitoring system. It is compatible with PowerLogic monitoring software that provides users with parameter sets and tools for comprehensive monitoring.

    Electronic Protection modules incorporate three LEDs to give an immediate and clear visual indication of operational status.

    Far more than a circuit breaker, Compact NSX lets operators better manage electrical installations and meet customer needs by optimising energy consumption, increasing supply availability and improving electrical installation management.

    Compact NSX incorporates many new features that make it more flexible and suitable for an extended range of applications. The roto-active contact breaking principle, for example, provides better current limitation and endurance performance providing very high breaking capacity in a very small space.

    Well suited to motor-starting and motor-running applications, the Compact NSX provides protection against short circuits, phase imbalance and loss with additional protection systems for starting and breaking with the motor running, jogging and reversing.

    Metering at board level
    It is not just devices such as the NSX MCCB that has been integrated with power metering. Compliance with certain aspects of the Building Regulations Part L2 has required the engineering and installation of meters to gather energy usage data. Schneider Electric developed a simple and elegant solution to the problem by offering its Isobar 4c 3 phase split metering lighting and power B type distribution boards with inbuilt meters and communications options.

    The Building Regulations Part L2 a and b demand sufficient facilities to account for 90% of each fuel type by end use category. Since as long ago as 2006 it has also been required to have automatic meter reading and data collection facilities for all new buildings over 1000m2.
    The Isobar 4c gives metering of total load plus separate metering of section 2. All control wiring current transformers and protection for meters are included and fitted, with outputs wired to terminals. For remote data collection and communications, an ethernet gateway and DC power supply can be supplied for retro-fit. The Power quality meters themselves are the state of the art PM750MG models with both pulsed output and modbus communications.
    Isobar 4c distribution boards can also be supplied with extension enclosures for fitting of surge protection and remote switching if required for fitting on site to extend the functions of the distribution boards.

    For split metering units the Isobar 4c 125 or 250amp boards come with a unique new split busbar (for which a patent is applied for) for lighting and power - in three combinations of 12/8, 14/6, 16/4 4/6,6/8 also - but a single overall isolation device. Standard incomers can be used together with split earth bars for ease of wiring.

    Like all Isobar 4c boards, there is an individual unique outgoing MCB connection slider; units are designed manufactured and tested to BS EN 60439 1 & 3; ingress protection is to IP3X to BS EN 60529; voltage rating is 400/415V; and the cable capacity of neutral and earth bars is 25mm2.

    Saving energy is laudable, but to maximise cost reduction an intelligent and convergent approach to power management enables prolonged equipment life, increased uptime, minimised outages and greater all-round efficiency.

  • Metering - Time running out for unmetered distribution

    At the present time, orders for sub-distribution boards to be used in commercial premises only rarely include provision for metering, says Colin McAhren of Moeller Electric. He believes, however, that this situation is going to change dramatically in the very near future

    It seems a very long time ago technical publications, including this very magazine, were full of articles announcing the introduction of Part L2 of the Building Regulations and explaining how this would lead to big changes in electrical distribution systems, particularly in relation to sub-metering. In fact, it was a long time ago: the year was 2006 and the final sections of Part L2 came into effect in October of that year.

    Surely then, with a full two years gone by, compliance with the provisions of Part L2 has become routine? Unfortunately, it hasn't. In particular, Part L2, as we shall see in more detail later, contains provisions that mean almost all distribution boards used in commercial electrical installations should include sub-metering. But they don't.

    How do I know? The answer is very simple. Moeller Electric is a major supplier of electrical distribution equipment and much of it is very clearly destined for non-domestic use. Not many Type B boards, for example, are used in the average home.

    Surprisingly then, most of the orders we receive don't include any mention of sub-metering. In addition, we offer retrofit sub-metering solutions, and demand for these is also much lower than might reasonably be expected. Sub-metering is simply being neglected.
    Before discussing why this is, let's rewind a little and refresh our memories as to why Part L2 was introduced and what it means in terms of electrical distribution systems. The first question is easily answered. Part L2 was introduced to help reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings, thereby protecting the environment and, incidentally, saving money for those that pay the energy bills for those buildings.

    It seeks to achieve this by requiring property owners and tenants to have access to accurate and detailed information about their energy usage. An overall usage figure is not sufficient to meet this requirement; the information must be split between various types of energy usage.

    In fact, Part L2 requires building occupiers to be able to account in detail for at least 90% of their energy usage for each type of fuel used, and that includes electricity. They must be able to say, for example, how much of the fuel is used for lighting, for heating, for air conditioning and so on.

    The provisions apply to all new premises with floor areas of 500m2, and they also apply to existing premises when substantial modifications are made. This is usually interpreted as meaning modifications that need Building Regulations approval. In other words, they apply to almost all premises where new distribution boards are going to be fitted!

    Now let's have a look at the implications for those distribution boards. As it is necessary to account for electricity usage separately for lighting, heating, etc., it's not hard to see that the overall metering installed by the electrical utility company is totally inadequate to meet the requirements of Part L2. What's needed is separate sub-metering for each type of load.
    This is made even more clear in the regulations by explicit requirements for separate metering of certain load types. These include, for example, boiler installations rated 50 kW or more, chillers rated 20 kW or more and motor control centres feeding pump or fan loads with a total rating of 10 kW or more.

    Perhaps the most important of these explicitly mentioned requirements, however, is final electricity distribution boards with loads totalling 50 kW or more. Most Type B boards exceed this figure when fully loaded, so Part L2 indicates strongly that feeds to almost all final distribution boards should be separately metered.

    The upshot of what we've discussed so far is that distribution boards without sub-metering should be very much in the minority but, as we've already seen, exactly the opposite is true at the present time.

    Why is this? That's not an easy question to answer, but the most probable explanation is that omitting the metering minimises the first cost of an installation, something which is always given a high priority by specifiers, even if the supposed economies lead to higher expenditure during the life of the building.

    It must also be true that building inspectors are currently less than rigorous in their insistence on the provisions of Part L2 being met, possibly because they've seen so very few installations where sub-metering is correctly implemented.

    Anyone, whether they're a contractor or a specifier, who is feeling a little complacent at this point about how easy it is to neglect Part L2 requirements should prepare themselves for something of a shock. Just when you thought it was safe to assume Part L2 was toothless, the rather sharper-toothed Energy Certificate for Buildings (ECB) has appeared on the scene!

    From October 2008, it is a condition of selling or leasing commercial property that the landlord or vendor should supply an ECB. Rather like the ratings schemes for things like domestic freezers, ECBs give a rating for the energy performance of the building.
    Buildings with poor energy ratings are likely to prove something of a liability, as would-be purchasers or tenants will have an all-too-clear indication that they'll be spending a lot of money on energy, and that they may well have to spend even more money somewhere down the road to improve the energy performance of their building.

    But what has all this got to do with Part L2 of the Building Regulations in general, and with sub-metering in particular? The answer is that in buildings without proper sub-metering provisions, as prescribed by Part L2, it will be difficult, if not impossible to demonstrate good energy performance. It won't be at all surprising if the independent government-approved inspectors who issue ECBs take a very dim view of this, and give the building a poor energy rating.

    So there it is - no sub-metering is likely to lead to a not-so-good ECB. And a not-so-good ECB will make a building hard to sell or let. It's not hard to see that the end result is going to be a big upsurge in interest in Part L2, and a big increase in demand for sub-metering, both for new and existing installations.

    Let's now look at how this demand can best be satisfied. The most convenient place to provide sub-metering is undoubtedly at the distribution board. It is important, therefore, that any boards used should make provision for the fitting of meters.

    In many cases this provision will be in the form of a meter box, and contractors in particular will need to give careful consideration to how easy this is to install, and whether it offers space for fitting any CTs that many need to be used in conjunction with the meters.
    It's also important that the appearance of the meter box complements that of the rest of the distribution equipment - today's customers are unlikely to be happy with metering provisions that look like a bolt-on afterthought, even if that's exactly what they are.

    One way to meet the need for monitoring energy usage separately for each type of load is to fit meters to all outgoing circuits. This is, however, an expensive and often inconvenient approach, particularly in simpler applications. In such cases, a better and more cost-effective solution is the use of split-load boards.

    While usually having a single incomer, boards of this type group the outgoing circuits for lighting and power loads separately. This makes it easy to provide separate energy monitoring for each type of load with just two meters. Suitability for use in split-load configurations is, therefore, an important factor to consider when choosing distribution boards.

    Some manufacturers, including Moeller Electric, have taken the growing need for sub-metering into account right from the earliest design stages of their latest distribution products. The result is complete ranges of products that make it easy to fit comprehensive metering, whether this is done during the assembly of the board, or as a retrofit operation on site.

    Boards of this type have, for example, adequate room for the internal addition of CTs without them having to be crammed into inconvenient and inaccessible locations such as cableways.

    The best products even allow meters to be added without the need for external meter boxes. With Moeller Electric's XEnergy modular distribution switchboards, for example, all that's needed is to replace the plain enclosure door with one that's fitted with a metering and display unit. This can be done easily, quickly and inexpensively either in the workshop or on site.

    Unfortunately for the environment, and for occupiers of commercial buildings who are denied the information they need to optimise their energy usage, sub-metering in electrical distribution systems is currently the exception rather than the rule.

    This regrettable situation must change, and it looks as if the introduction of ECBs is going to be the driving force to bring this change about. For contractors and specifiers, therefore, now is the time to dust off Part L2 of the Building Regulations and look at it again with renewed focus and interest!

  • Opinion - Moving ahead with smart metering

    The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) is due to unveil its impact assessment report on smart metering next month. Decision makers across the utilities industry are on the edge of their seats, as the Government is expected to decide on a UK-wide smart meter roll-out based on BERR's December report. However, it has recently been suggested there isn't enough data for the Government to make its decision on time. David Hughes, utilities practice director, ABeam Consulting, discusses why the industry should move ahead with smart metering regardless of a public mandate

    As UK plc prepares for an energy efficient future, the utilities industry is under the microscope. While using green energy sources is important in the long-term, empowering customers to be more energy efficient is part of the solution in the short-term. It is clear smart metering technologies will play a crucial role in this, enabling customers to better understand and regulate their own energy consumption.  Providing customers with real-time visibility of the energy they use enables them to see how they can save money, which is the ultimate incentive to change their behaviour. 

    At first glance, the introduction of smart metering within the UK energy market could be viewed as extremely problematic. The installation of 26 million new smart electricity meters across the country will be costly, time-consuming, and complicated from a logistical perspective. There is also the immediate and very real impact on revenue: customers using less energy and ultimately paying less - which will hit the bottom line. An increasingly competitive market also creates issues around capital investment, ongoing asset ownership and supplier switching.

    Then there are the customers, who are becoming increasingly intolerant of poor service. This is driving the need to focus efforts on external change, managing customer expectations and communication, to avoid additional costs associated with unplanned customer contact and complaints.

    Yet, there are massive benefits that can be achieved with smart metering. Aside from the environmental advantages, it enables on-demand meter readings whilst eliminating manual meter reading costs. Smart meters eliminate the human error in meter reading and predicted costs based on previous history.  Removing such errors also eliminates any room for disagreement about billing, saving the customer time.  The cost to serve the customer will be reduced further, as customers tend to respond well to more accurate and frequent billing.  In fact, when tackled in the right way, smart metering can be seen as a huge business opportunity, which suppliers should take advantage of regardless of the Government's pending decision. ‘Smart' suppliers should look beyond the basic logistics and economics of implementation and begin to exploit smart metering as the catalyst for really getting to grips with their customer relationships.

    Smart metering can provide a unique source of real-time customer information, which can be used across a retail energy providing organisation to drive efficiency and guide each individual customer journey. It also marks a shift in the evolution of customer management, from a reactive relationship that is geared towards problem solving, to a proactive relationship aimed at continually realigning and improving the customer experience. In the future, customers can expect to have personalised conversations centred on their individual tariff, product and service needs. 

    The real-time consumption data provided through smart metering can also go a long way to address ‘green disadvantages', such as reduced revenue. It is important that tariff development taps into this detailed consumption information. This enables the delivery of a range of flexible tariffs that suit the needs of the customer, whilst supporting the revenue needs of the business. If applied intelligently, tariffs that help to control consumer demand can be developed, without a hugely detrimental impact on energy sales. Additionally, when combined with effective back office processes aimed at identifying the customer, real-time consumption information can be used to confront energy theft and minimise unbilled periods.

    The advanced metering technology itself offers network maintenance benefits that often exceed expectations. For example, it enables auto and remote diagnostics, which support field force optimisation. This enables meter faults to be identified centrally, tapping into the work management system to send the right operative to complete the job. Additionally, smart metering enables some meter problems to be fixed remotely, eliminating the need for a visit completely.

    In parts of the US and Europe, smart metering is delivering considerable benefits already. In Italy for example, the introduction of these technologies has resulted in customers making fewer unnecessary bill enquiries and paying their bills more diligently. To reap the benefits of smart metering for business and customers alike it is crucial that suppliers treat it as a fundamental catalyst to business-wide change.  Merely tinkering with smart metering will lead to creating inefficiencies in processes, systems and working practices.  Smart metering should be seen as a driver for standardisation and simplification - both internally and for the customer. Moreover, it should be regarded as a business transformation programme with the customer at the heart of future operating models, not just an IT project.

    The question of if and how the Government eventually decides to move ahead with a smart meter roll-out should therefore be almost irrelevant for suppliers. The industry should start pushing for smart metering adoption before it becomes a legal necessity, because those that won't wait for Government enforcement will ultimately have the competitive edge. Suppliers need to remember that they dealing with increasingly demanding, price-sensitive customers in an extremely competitive market, and plan accordingly. To make the most of smart metering, suppliers need to be smart about it.

  • Energy efficiency - Energy performance and sub-metering

    There are a number of drivers affecting energy performance in modern buildings, some of which impact upon the work of the electrical design engineer, challenging him to produce cost-effective solutions but also presenting new business opportunities. Mike Lawrence, product line team leader - commercial assemblies at Eaton, explains

    Principal among the drivers affecting energy performance is the Building Regulations Part L2: Conservation of fuel and power in buildings other than dwellings. This calls for sub-metering so that at least 90% of the estimated annual consumption can be attributed to specific end-use categories.

    Some energy metering systems offered by manufacturers are complex and costly. However, the solution does not necessarily have to be so complex. Sometimes it is possible to install a relatively simple, cost-effective system that is future-proofed to allow more advanced automatic metering and trending (AM&T) systems to be introduced later.

    Energy Performance Certificates
    Since October 2008 an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has been required by law for any new building or any building sold or rented. First introduced for domestic premises, the requirement was extended in April 2008 to cover large commercial properties. Then in October it became applicable to all buildings, or parts of buildings, when they are "built, sold or rented". In addition, since October a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) has been required for prominent display in larger public buildings.

    The EPC and DEC are among a number of interrelated requirements of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

    Energy Performance Certificates must be issued by accredited energy assessors. They will give the property an energy efficiency rating on a scale of A to G, similar to the ratings used for domestic appliances. The assessors will also give recommendations for improvement.
    While the requirements for Energy Performance Certificates do not impose any direct requirements for metering, a carefully-planned sub-metering strategy will enable building owners or occupiers to monitor energy usage, identify significant trends and assess the effectiveness of measures taken to implement the energy assessors' recommendations.

    Building Regulations L2
    The UK Building Regulations Part L2 was also driven by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. It is published as two documents, L2A covering new buildings and L2B covering existing buildings.
    The key requirements affecting sub-metering are:-
    - Energy meters should be installed so that at least 90% of the estimated annual energy consumption of each fuel (electricity, gas, LPG, oil etc.) can be assigned to various end-use categories such as lighting, heating, ventilation, pumps and fans.
    - Reasonable provision of energy meters in existing buildings can be achieved by following the recommendations of Cibse Technical Memorandum TM39:Building Energy Metering (A Guide to energy sub-metering in non-domestic buildings.)
    - Reasonable provision of energy meters would be to install sub-meters in any building greater than 500m2.   
    - In buildings with a total useful floor area greater than 1000m2, facilities should be provided for automatic meter reading and data collection.
    The objective is to develop a sub-metering strategy so that users can identify areas where improvements can be introduced to achieve energy savings of 5-10% or better.
    TM39 is an updated version of Cibse General Information Leaflet 65 (GIL65):Metering energy use in new non-domestic buildings, which can be downloaded free of charge from

    The L2 requirements apply to premises with a floor area greater than 500m2 and existing buildings where "consequential improvements", normally involving Building Regulations approval, are being made. This includes separate buildings on multi-building sites.
    Specific recommendations are made for plant and equipment for which separate metering should be provided as follows:-
    - Motor control centres feeding pumps and fan loads greater than 10kW
    - Boiler installations greater than 50kW
    - Chiller installations greater than 20kW
    - Electric humidifiers greater than 10kW
    - Final electricity distribution boards greater than 50kW
    This last recommendation is especially pertinent because the majority of distribution boards are rated higher than 50kW.

    Metering solutions
    There are various approaches to sub-metering. In some cases all metering is provided at the main switchboard. This has the advantage that meters are all in the same location so manual collection of data is easy. However, on some sites MCCB panelboards provide sub-distribution to final distribution boards and to loads such as lifts, ventilation or air-conditioning plant. These will require sub-metering at the panelboard.

    Final distribution boards frequently supply more than one type of load (typically lighting and small power). If these loads are metered separately back at the main switchboard or panelboard, it will require separate feeders and probably two distribution boards instead of one. If, however, metering of the grouped loads can be carried out at the distribution board it is possible to use a single feeder.
    Different solutions are available at the final distribution board:-
    - Custom-built boards incorporating metering. This is generally an expensive solution.
    - Separate meter packs installed below, or alongside, standard distribution boards offer a more cost-effective solution.
    - Distribution boards with integral metering are now available as standard products.

    In each case there are options for a single meter to monitor the entire board, or for split metering to provide separate measurement of grouped lighting and small power loads. These options are available with both Type A (single-phase) and Type B (three-phase) boards. However, it should be noted that in some split metering applications one meter monitors the entire board. This calls for external calculation for one group of MCB-ways.
    It is recommended that meters should always include remote reading capabilities. As a minimum this should be a pulsed output offering remote measurement of kWh. A better solution is a Modbus design that provides information via an RS485 connection. With Modbus RS485 communication, information is read directly from the meter and some data registers, such as peak demand, can be re-set remotely. If the meter is connected to an effective energy management system (EMS/BMS), it can deliver a more informative energy monitoring capability. Specifiers and installers do not need to go to the expense of custom-built distribution boards and panelboards to ensure compliance with Building Regulations Part L2. A range of metering solutions is now available for type A and type B boards including add-on meter packs for use with standard distribution boards and distribution boards with integral metering capabilities. The design of these units minimises the amount of on-site work for the contractor and the standardised design allows boards to be sourced through the normal electrical wholesaler network.

    Where greater sophistication is required, ethernet connectivity can be used to integrate the sub-metering into a comprehensive energy management architecture for effective monitoring, control and management of the complete energy infrastructure in large sites. Eaton's Power Xpert software allows energy use to be monitored and trends identified so that systems can be optimised to reduce energy costs and achieve a more efficient system.
    For further information see

  • Second generation of Wi-LEM wireless sub-metering components

    LEM has extended its Wi-LEM (Wireless Local Energy Meter) family to allow the remote  measurement and monitoring of electricity, water and other metered utilities as well as temperature and humidity. It allows industrial and commercial enterprises to break down energy and water usage and identify areas of efficiency improvement. All the new Wi-LEM components feature a ten-fold increase of RF power from 1mW to 10mW, increasing the distance between nodes compared to the previous LEM generation of components.

    By using the 802.15.4 wireless communication standard, which has proven reliability, and the use of split-core transducers, Wi-LEM greatly reduces the time, cost and disruption involved in deploying a sub-metering installation.

    The Wi-Pulse is a new and additional dual-input pulse counter used to count and transmit pulses generated by utility meters. It can easily be connected to an existing Wi-LEM network, expanding the range of utilities that can be monitored - in addition to electricity. Wi-Pulse therefore enables readings from existing stand-alone water and energy utility meters and sub-meters with a pulse output to be monitored centrally using a Wi-LEM network. The new Wi-Zone is a temperature and humidity transducer that connects to a Wi-LEM network, allowing environmental conditions to be monitored. Both new devices are battery powered, simplifying installation as they require no external power supply. They also both feature an internal integrated antenna, making the transducers compact and ideal for retrofit applications.

    The Wi-LEM family of Energy Meter Nodes (EMN) has also been enhanced to offer measurements of high currents up to 2000ARMS. Energy Meter Nodes provide much more information than a simple sub-meter as they measure active, reactive and apparent energy plus maximum current and minimum voltage. EMNs comprise an assembly of one to three current transducers with an integral signal-processing module. They can be deployed to measure energy consumption at any point in a power cabinet and transmit the data. High-accuracy and compact size is provided by the use of split-core Rogowski coils, which also simplify installation.

    All three new units work with LEM's established Mesh Node and Mesh Gate to ensure compatibility with existing solutions. The Mesh Node is a repeater linking various nodes to provide reliable wireless communication in larger installations. It can be added to the network without any need for additional configuration or programming. The Mesh Gate is a stand-alone wireless network management gateway that connects the robust self-configuring mesh network of transducers with a PC. Each Mesh Gate allows the monitoring of up to 200 Energy Meter Nodes.

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