Ensuring Accuracy and Security of Smart Energy Meters

As the world moves towards a greener future, (and as energy costs rise and the availability of non-renewable sources of energy becomes inadequate), smart energy management and consumption has become a top priority for businesses worldwide. With IoT and the smart factory concept taking over the business world, smart meters (expected to grow to $2.1 billion by 2020) are enabling companies to efficiently manage energy usage that older meters could not offer, while simultaneously helping lower energy costs.

Smart Energy Benefits

Several IoT manufacturers today are developing interoperable smart energy products that monitor, control, inform, and automate the delivery and use of energy. These innovative solutions allow businesses to know and control their energy use; by connecting to a smart grid, they help create sustainable industries by providing the information and automation needed to reduce energy consumption and in the process save money. Smart metering solutions:

· Help reduce pollution and cut global warming emissions

· Decrease dependence on coal and other fossil fuels

· Help the world move towards a cleaner, healthier future

· Automate and streamline meter readings

· Enable better access to data to manage energy usage

· Provide improved, accurate and timely billing

· Improve outage restoration

· Reduce back office rebilling

· Ensure early detection of meter tampering and theft

· Reduce billing errors

· Improve transformer load management

· Reduce employee safety incidents

· Improve environmental benefits

· And provide support for smart grid initiatives

Smart Energy Concerns

Although smart meters help improve grid reliability and promote energy efficiency, there are concerns regarding the accuracy, security and integrity of these meters as well as around RF emissions. Ensuring appropriate level of accuracy, safety, and security and adherence to national standards and state and local requirements is essential for proper and secure operation.

Containing RF Exposure

Since smart meter systems operate by transmitting information wirelessly, there are several concerns surrounding the health effects of signals on people.

· Since radio transmitters are integrated into the circuit board of the device, test the devices according to specifications

· Use only the radio spectrum allocated by the industry that operate on low power levels

· Make sure the smart meter radio devices are industry certified and meet the required quality standards

· Shield your smart meter in appropriate metal enclosures

· And also shield the wall behind the smart meter to prevent the radiation from entering the building

Ensuring Accuracy

The success of smart meter projects depends on the accuracy of operations during project planning, deployment and maintenance of systems.

· Properly develop the business and technical requirements of the systems

· Have a robust technology selection team and choose the appropriate technology

· Ensure system meters and devices meet the regulatory and certification requirements

· Ensure safe and appropriate installation plans and processes

· Sufficiently plan for operation and maintenance.

· Develop a maintenance model to ensure reduced outages and enable support of new systems

· Design and implement appropriate compliance process

Ensuring Security

Security and integrity of industrial meters is a major focus by utilities and vendors. Utilities that integrate elements of management, control and compliance result in successful project implementation.

· Comply with industry standards and guidelines and ensure safety and security of smart meters

· Adhere to the set of cyber security guidelines that address remote access, authentication, encryption, and privacy of metered data and customer information is a primary requirement.

· Make sure you conduct appropriate transition and post deployment testing plans to meet local regulatory requirements and your business needs.

· Incorporate appropriate security measures for data validation, privacy and encryption, access control, and error checking

· Also ensure periodic scheduled site visits to audit the site for meter safety, meter access and meter reading verification

Building a Greener Future

With significant invasion of new measurement technologies and integration of advanced communication systems into basic meters, metering operations are being confronted both technically and operationally. As more sophisticated energy measurement systems are developed, designed and deployed, there is a pressing need to ensure accuracy, safety of smart meters in order to build a greener future. By taking appropriate steps, you can ensure accurate, precise, reliable and robust operations of smart meters and build a greener, more sustainable future.