17 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Electricity metres are measuring and safety equipment that must be tested by Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) before they can be used.
Different classes of consumers require different types of meters: Single and multiple phases to ensure that your meter matches your consumption.
Meters by the same manufacturers are calibrated for each Distribution Companies (DisCo) use, such that you cannot use a meter calibrated for Ikeja DisCo in Eko DisCo without Re-calibration.
Meters cannot be installed without a visit to the home for audit assessment.
DisCos liquidity problem makes it difficult for them to access credit to order and supply meters. One DisCo requires over N20billion to metre.
The consumer base does not capture all those who consume power, and without meters, the DisCos aggregate power distributed to a destination and estimate the bill for the known consumer who is perhaps paying for the neighbour who is not known or is stealing energy; (whistle blowing for energy theft is a civic responsibility).
Those who are resisting the installation of meters and assaulting DisCo staff who seek to install meters must stop it. It is a criminal offence.
Most meters cannot be repaired, you may have to get a new one.
Meters are prone to wear and tear
According to callmepower, the electric meter that is connected to your home is given a unique number so that your consumption can be identified and billed correctly. You will need to indicate your meter number when you submit a meter reading to your Transmission/Distribution Service Provider (TDSP – also known as your electric utility). This is not the same as the ESI ID#, which is used to localize your meter number and link your consumption to your meter number.
You will find the meter number on the face of your meter. On an analog metre the metre number is found at the bottom of the meter.
There are two main types of electric meters used by most utilities: electromechanical meters and automated (“smart”) meters.
Electromechanical meters contain the following components:
· A plastic or glass cover. The cover is sealed so as to reduce the possibility that it can be damaged or tampered with
· The unique number for the particular meter
· A disk that turns as power is consumed
· Dials that indicate the total amount of power consumed
Electromechanical induction meters are the most common type of electricity meters currently used the US. They contain an electrically conductive, non-magnetic metal disk that rotates at a speed proportional to the amount of electricity consumed. The disk is propelled by the interaction of the magnetic fields produced by two electromagnets surrounding the disks: one that is powered by the power being supplied from the incoming power lines, and the other by the current being demanded by the building’s electrical circuits. The rotation of the disk is slowed by two permanent magnets that exert a proportional opposing force. The numbers on the dial turn as the disk rotates.
Automated meters (or “smart” meters) work in a similar manner to traditional electromechanical meters, but they also contain a battery and a communication chip. This communication chip sends meter reading data by radio signal to a mobile collector several times of day (and rests dormant between these times). This meter reading information is sent to the electricity utility, through the power lines, or by radio frequency or cellular networks. The utility sends customer consumption information to their energy supplier for billing.
The battery in the communication chip in automated meters is designed to last for 15 to 20 years. The communication chip (which is sometimes called an Encoder, Receiver, Transmitter – or ERT – device) operates at the same radio frequency as many cordless phones but is designed not to interfere with other devices (it will automatically switch to another frequency if it does detect interference).
Why use a smart meter?
Because it allows your energy provider to determine not just how much electricity you used, but when you consumed it. A traditional automatic meter reading (AMR) tracks your electricity usage, against which your utility company applies an average price for the previous month in order to determine your bill. However, electricity prices vary throughout the day, spiking in periods of high demand, and falling dramatically during periods of low demand–like during the night.
As electricity markets have become deregulated, companies have searched for better ways of pricing the electricity they provide, in order to charge consumers for the electricity that they use, when they use it. Additionally, because smart meters can be read remotely, electricity and gas companies see them as a way to save money in operating and labor costs. While smart meters do not in themselves constitute a “smart grid,” they form an integral part of one.
As such, smart meters can help you save money every month if you are able to consume during off-peak periods (or conversely, end up costing you more).
All micro generation owners must have bi-directional meters installed. These meters measure the flow of electricity that is used by the buildings onto which they are installed, as well as the flow of power that is produced. In other words, they can measure electricity flow in two directions. There are two types of bi-directional meters: bi-directional cumulative meters and bi-directional interval meters. Both meters essentially work in the same way, but an interval meter makes readings at defined intervals (e.g. every 30 minutes), whereas a cumulative meter does not.
Who owns the electric meter?
Your utility owns the meter on your house. They are responsible for installing, maintaining, and reading your meter. Your meter is sealed and tampering with it is a prosecutable crime (not to mention highly dangerous). If you would like to have your meter moved or changed, you must contact your utility directly to see if this is possible.
How do I read my meter?
If you have an automated (smart) meter, your information is sent directly to your utility, so you don’t technically have to read your meter. That being said, it is a good idea to know how much power you are consuming, regardless of what type of meter you have.
How to read an electromechanical (analogue) meter
Electromechanical meters display electricity consumption on a series of dials. To read your meter, look at the numbers from left to right, reading the number when the dial is directly on the number, or rounding to the lowest number when it is between two numbers.
Reading a smart meter
Reading a Smart Meter is simpler, as the LCD screen will display the total kWh consumption as it changes.
How to read a bi-directional meter
A bi-directional meter has two displays: kWh received, and kWh delivered. The total kWh will be displayed for both directions. Electricity received will be accompanied with the code “01”, and electricity delivered with the code “46”. It may display 888 between readings, which is a segment test.
How do I know if my meter is accurate?
All meter types and models are tested extensively by your utility before they are deployed for widespread use in your community. Electro mechanic meters have a lifespan of about 30 years, and electronic (smart) meters have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, but may need to be serviced from time to time before they are replaced. Your utility is also responsible for maintaining and servicing your electricity meter.
Some have raised concerns about the safety of smart meters, and the effects the RF (low-energy) radiation they emit. The amount of radiation you could be exposed to from a smart meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from using a cell phone, for example. Studies have been done to determine whether radiation from smart meters could interfere with electronic medical devices, such as a pacemaker. It has not been proven that smart meters interfere with these types of devices.
Who to call if my meter doesn’t work?
Your utility owns your meter and is responsible for maintaining it. If you think your meter isn’t working, call your utility’s customer service number to find out more.
What happens to my meter when I move?
The electricity meter on your home will not move or change if you move. You should notify your electricity supplier in advance of an upcoming move. A representative from your electricity utility may need to come to your house for a final meter reading, or you may need to phone in the final meter reading yourself.
What happens to my meter if I switch energy supplies?
Your utility remains the same even when you switch suppliers, so nothing will happen to your meter if you decide to change energy suppliers. Your power supply should not be interrupted when you make the switch.