The Basics Of Smart Metering

by | Mar 2, 2016 | Utilities

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The choice of moving from standard or basic types of meters to integrate smart metering technology for water companies and other utility companies is becoming a worldwide technology.

All smart metering programs start by replacing the existing types of meters with smart meters, which are typically smaller in size and provide easy to read information on the front. This is a good option for both the homeowner or resident of an apartment or other type of multi-family building as they can easily track and monitor their own personal water use.

The value in smart metering is that it is possible to monitor usage in real-time, which is very helpful for both utility companies as well as customers. Leaks in systems can be detected, unusual water consumption spikes can be detected before the leak has continued for weeks or months and water utility companies can know when peak demand is to ensure the demand for water can be met.

A Short History

There really is a very short history with smart metering as the technology has only been around since 1972 and not actually in use for utilities since 1977.

The first sensors to be able to detect and transmit information about systems uses and consumption of electricity was developed by Theodore Paraskevakos, an inventor, who was actually working as a digital engineer for Boeing in Alabama.

He was able to develop a technology that sent information in the form of an identification code and specific data to a computer to be read and stored automatically. Initially, this was done through phone lines and this technology later became the early caller ID system.

The same basics apply to smart metering, but the data is sent wirelessly. Interestingly enough, the first type of metering using this technology actually was developed before the internet, but the internet made it more effective and efficient.


There are several different standards and protocols that smart metering has to meet for the transmission of data as well as for safety and security. In the United States, ANSI or the American National Standards Institute sets protocols for use of the communication.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission regulates that sets limits on the radio frequency levels that are deemed safe, and smart meters are well below the use of just 15 minutes on a cell phone per day.

For the security of transmitting data, smart metering systems use encryption and security systems that constantly monitor their systems for any signs of unauthorized access to the data. Independent security audits are also used to verify the security of the transmissions.

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