AutomaticMeter Reading: Link between Meters and Billing Centre

CombinedUtilities Trial

ReportNo WSAA 52


February 1993




Acombined automatic meter reading trial between forty customers and a modelcorporate billing centre was carried out over a period of six months commencingin early 1992. The aim of the project was to trial a common transmission linkbetween the household data collection unit and the corporate billing centre.This link carried meter reading data for the State Electricity Commission ofVictoria, Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria and Melbourne Water (formerlyBoard of Works).


Theprovision of a remote real time data collection facility to residentialpremises, provides the opportunity for the introduction of more complex tariffsstructures, such as “time of use” and seasonal tariffs at no additional meterreading cost. The introduction of these tariff structures enables the Utilitiesto influence their customer’s usage to achieve both short and long term demandmanagement goals.


Twosites, located east of the Melbourne Central Business District, were selectedfor the trial. The twenty customers in Hampton Park were connected via anelectricity distribution line carrier system provided by Nilsen IndustrialElectronics. The system located in the Mount Dandenong area was supplied bySiemens and was connected via a radio paging network and the standard telephonenetwork.


Thetrial was technically successful as meter readings were collected on a dailybasis from all customers as well as hourly consumption readings from a limitednumber of customers. The trial also provided invaluable operational data on theproblems associated with the installation, commissioning and operation of aremote residential data collection facility.


The financialanalysis provides valuable data in regard to the installation costs and thetrial experience indicates a need to develop a dedicated installation team ableto carry out all of the work associated with the installation and thereforecontain the labour costs.


Thecustomer response to the trial was favourable and the majority of the trialcustomers were able to identify benefits in an AMR system.


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