Retrofitting Energy Meters

The Challenge

The challenge that had to be addressed was how to deliver an automated IoT solution to read energy meters competitively enough with the very low rate of manual readings performed by low skilled labor. The product to be delivered is not only the device with sensors that will perform the readings and automatically transmit data wirelessly, but also the wireless communication structure to support the devices, the middleware to concentrate the data and perform the analytics, and a team to install the devices.

All of those added costs had to be lower than the current fees charged for those readings, but the benefits here were largely in part the fact that the quality of the automated readings are without human errors. Important to note here is that the augmented frequency of the readings was all given in an automated solution.

The Solution

We have designed the device by optimizing the project in every aspect; from production and assembly characteristics, to battery life and even the energy consumption of the firmware, it’s all been heavily optimized. The device includes a led sensor for the IR pulses of the energy meter (any brand), and a battery sensor to track battery voltage.

We have also designed a communication LoRaWan module to meet cost targets for the project. As well, the sensor is available in several shapes to allow for its use in a wide range of energy meters models.

The expertise gathered in this project allows us to apply the project to other energy meter models, including built-in sensors in new meters if the meter manufacturer so wish.

The flexibility of the solution also allows the device to be positioned and placed for optimum communication and transmission.

The Results
As expected, data accuracy and frequency were both improved, but the quality of the data collected by our devices exceeded expectations; one month into the analyses, and it was already possible to determine energy leaks that were confirmed by maintenance teams sent to the location.

The most regarded benefits of the solution are as follows:

  • Reading frequency increased from once a month to once every hour.
  • Data frequency allowed the construction of an all-new customer profile.
  • Eradication of human error with data accuracy improved with automated readings.
  • Data Analyses allowed for the detection of patterns and irregularities, such as leaks.
  • Elimination of human contact in a COVID-19 environment.
  • Reading fees being at the same low level as it was with unskilled manual readings, but with the advantages of automation such as boosted data accuracy and improved data frequency.

Below is an image on the dashboard of one of the clients that allowed us to share the information: