A lot of you have been installing AMR / AMI equipment for several years now. Many are completely deployed and have been for several years as well. Most of these systems were installed using solid state meters that were touted as being failsafe to the point of running perfect until one day they just die and need replacement.
There is a lot of truth to the concept, but time is proving that solid state meters do drift to some degree before this “Sudden Death” occurs. The determination of how long that might be as well as how much drift takes place before it happens is a work in progress.
What is an acceptable percent of drift before revenue is affected? Where should we draw this line? Now that you no longer have a utility representative visiting the metering point on a regular basis what condition is the entire service in? Are there meters that have been tampered with? Have by-pass jumpers been installed in the meter socket to allow partial energy theft? Has someone wired in a separate load on the “Line” side of your service entrance? Has the vegetation overgrown the service making it hard to find, let alone get to, when an outage condition does occur? Has a customer swapped meters with his neighbor that is not around much, so his neighbor gets the bill for his electric heat? Has your consumer added enough load he is about to burn his house down because your service entrance has a defective connection at the weather head, or in the meter socket? Does the AMR / AMI reading being sent in match the display register? Which one is correct? Does your AMR / AMI system provide reports that make it 100% impossible for any of these scenarios to take place?
These are only a few possibilities, all of which we have seen in the field. Meter accuracy is not the only thing that can affect your operation. We do a lot more than just test meters and it is not as costly as you might think. Please contact us to discuss our service inspection programs.