Smart Meters

What is a smart meter?

It’s difficult for people to understand the link between how much energy they consume and their actions, because you can’t see energy – it doesn’t have a face. That’s where smart meters come in.

Arc Innovation’s smart meters are an enabling technology that people can see. Using two-way communications similar to that used in cell phones, a rich set of data and events are measured and collected from the meter at the consumer’s premises.

This data, including electricity consumption measurements taken every half an hour throughout the day, can be presented to the consumer by the retailer. The consumer can use this information to tailor their energy consumption in the most cost effective way for their life style.

The smart meters replace the old traditional mechanical meters. Forget about mechanical meter readers coming onto your property to read the meter, estimated bills and inaccessible meters in dark cupboards. A smart meter sends near real-time information on the amount of electricity being used to the electricity retailer.

Sending back half hourly consumption data, smart meters let you compare your energy usage across weeks, days and even hours. The meters can be read remotely at any time.

Bills are based on near, real-time information so consumers can take advantage of different rates on different days, or special off-peak pricing.

A key aspect of Arc’s own smart meter solution is the integrated ripple receiver.

In New Zealand, lines companies own and operate a control system called ‘ripple injection’ for the purpose of

  • Managing peak loading

  • Lowering load following faults or failures, and to facilitate planned maintenance

  • Switching on hot water cylinders and night store heating and other night loads during cheaper night periods

  • Signalling higher priced congestion periods

  • Switching dual rate (e.g. day/night) meter registers

  • Switching street lighting on and off

All residential and commercial hot water cylinders of 100 to 500 litres storage capacity with heating elements more than  1.2kW must be ripple controlled and, as such, Arc meters are fitted with an 'internal' ripple controlled latching relay which is used  by the utility to provide peak control, fixed time control or emergency control of the hot water cylinder.

These meters proved invaluable in the recent Christchurch earthquake of 22 February, 2011.