HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Electronic News & Comment
Smart Meters Create Opportunity for Electronics Suppliers
5/14/2012

Demand for smart meters will spike over the next eight years, creating a need for microcontrollers and other electronic components.
Demand for smart meters will spike over the next eight years, creating a need for microcontrollers and other electronic components.

Return to Article

View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Page 1/3  >  >>
apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Smart Meters
apresher   5/14/2012 8:37:22 AM
NO RATINGS
Chuck, very interesting and I think this will be an important step in moving toward better energy management in the home, and variable pricing models that will encourage conservation at peak loading times.  Thanks.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Smart Meters
naperlou   5/14/2012 9:16:54 AM
NO RATINGS
Smart meters are being installed in our city (Naperville, IL) and it has generated some controversy.  There are two points on which people get upset.  First is the ability of the utility to have access to our usage patterns on a fine grained level.  Second is the electromagnetic radiation that will harm some people.  The second is just a canard.  In Europe about half of the implementations use power line communications.  I would think this is cheaper, so I wonder why our city has choosen Wi-Fi. 

The privacy issue is surely there, but to take utilities to the next level of reliability and effeciency that information is needed.  We do not have devices in the home to control particular appliances, so the utility can only shut off the whole structure.  The other features, beyond the meter itself, are all ancilary deices that will be required to implement Demand Side Management (DSM).  Just having the meter is a necessary starting point. 

Another thing that strikes me is the replacement cycle.  Since these meters will be technology driven, it is unlikely that technology will have stood still in the time frame assumed.  The meters will have to be programmable, and perhaps should be modular.  Otherwise, those that are rushing to implement this now will end up with obsolete equipment in a very short time. 

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Smart Meters
apresher   5/14/2012 9:27:11 AM
NO RATINGS
Naperlou, are there any talk of using networking to interface this data to touchpanels/thermostats as a way for consumers to be able to use this information?

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Control is next
tekochip   5/14/2012 12:13:38 PM
NO RATINGS
I know the next stage will be to control appliance like air conditioning and the like, but in it's present form I do not see my electricity usage as an invasion privacy. Now, the guys running the grow houses might have a concern. I would take issue with ComEd running my appliances and then the security issues that come with that level of interaction.

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Electronic Power-Meter Cautions
Jon Titus   5/14/2012 1:46:48 PM
NO RATINGS
Power-line communications have a place, but in communities that have tried broadband over power-line comms for Internet access, the power-line signals have caused interference to wireless signals. Most US communities that adopted broadband over power-line as an alternate to cable have dropped it.  Perhaps the meters in Europe use a lower-frequency scheme for power-line communications.  How do they pass signals through transformers and substations, or do they grab the signals locally and transmit them over a wireless link?

Security becomes a big issue.  We don't want people to spoof a system and turn off power. Also, smart meters need to detect reversal of current flow so someone can't reverse a meter.

Here in the Salt Lake Valley, Rocky Mountain Power can connect a module to an air conditioner and control it with a wireless link. When power demand increases during the summer, the power company can shut off air conditioning for 15 minutes per hour. Those of us who voluntarily have such a module attached get a rebate at the end of each calendar year. So our power company already has some sort of power-management wireless network in place.

Texas Instruments has some devices, boards, and application information for engineers interested in smart meters: http://www.ti.com/solution/smart-e-meter-diagram.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Control is next
Beth Stackpole   5/14/2012 3:42:51 PM
NO RATINGS
Some level of monitoring and control is necessary to enable a smart grid type of application. But in some ways, what's the difference. The electric and power companies already monitor usage for billing, and this isn't really any different.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Smart Meters
Charles Murray   5/14/2012 6:01:13 PM
NO RATINGS
I think you're right on the money, Naperlou. The privacy issue is debatatble, but the electromagnetic radiation isn't a problem. The power levels used hear are lower than those of cell phones, so everyone who is concerned about this should take the first step of tossing their cell phones now.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Control is next
Charles Murray   5/14/2012 6:02:32 PM
NO RATINGS
I think the benefit is for them, not us, Beth. They want to reduce their costs. They might position it otherwise, but I have my doubts.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Smart Meters
naperlou   5/14/2012 9:50:26 PM
NO RATINGS
apresher, not that I know of.  That is what puzzles me.  This will allow the utility to monitor their network better and to get an idea of usage down to the premise.  It does not, as yet, have a consumer DSM component.  That is where the real savings will come in, both for the individual customer and the systems as a whole.

One thing that might be of interest is that Naperville has a municipal distribution company.  Thus, they can buy power from different sources.  Our rates have been good as a result. 

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Smart Meters
TJ McDermott   5/15/2012 1:31:20 AM
NO RATINGS
Naperlou, people see this as an invasion of privacy because companies do such a BAD job of explaining how this system will benefit them.

Most people (myself included) will see this as a way for the power company to gouge its customers - higher rates at peak demand periods.

The power companies have a captive audience - you cannot go shopping, can you?

Customers have to see this as good for them for proper buy-in.  The companies MUST prove that customers will see a real savings, not just less of an increase.

Page 1/3  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Electronic News & Comment
Mac Cameron of Stratasys describes the companys Connex3 technology, which allows users to 3D-print complex parts in one build with no assembly required.
At Medical Design & Manufacturing Midwest, Joe Wascow told Design News how Optimal Design prototyped a machine that captures the wing-beat of a duck.
Melissa Cavanagh of 3DP Unlimited talked to Design News about the companys large format 3D printer, during Medical Design and Manufacturing Midwest.
Eric Doster of iFixit talks about the most surprising aspect of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 teardown. In a presentation at Medical Design & Manufacturing Midwest, iFixit gave the Surface Pro 3 a score of one (out of a possible 10) for repairability.
Time was when a talented driver with a manual transmission could beat any car with an automatic transmission in a straight-line race. No more, though. In tests at GMs Milford Proving Grounds near Detroit, the 2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 equipped with an automatic has turned 0-60 mph times of 2.95 seconds, making it about a quarter of a second faster than the same vehicle with a manual trans.
Design News Webinar Series
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 20 - 24, How to Design & Build an Embedded Web Server: An Embedded TCP/IP Tutorial
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 11:00 AM
Sponsored by Stratasys
Next Class: 10/28-10/30 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Gates Corporation
Next Class: 11/11-11/13 2:00 PM
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service