A smart electricity meter provides data to the grid operator on a daily basis. Technolution designed the Meter Front End (MFE) for Dutch grid operator Stedin. The MFE sweeps the entire IT chain in the grid operator’s domain: from the P3 port on the smart meter to the P4 connection to the utility company.
EU requires smart meters
The EU now requires a transition to smart meters in order to provide consumers with more insight into their energy use. By 2020, all Dutch connections to the grid must have a smart meter. Stedin manages two million connections of which a quarter now have a smart meter at the beginning of 2016. Approximately 70% of households have a gas connection which will also receive a smart meter.
What does a smart electricity meter do?
A smart gas meter provides meter readings to the electricity meter every hour. The smart electricity meter saves its meter readings every 15 minutes and then provides readings once a day to the grid operator through the P3 port. This port makes a data connection with the grid operator’s database through GPRS. This is a secure connection in which the meter is first identified and authenticated before it provides information to the database.
This only occurs if the consumer has given express permission to do so. In exchange, the consumer receives detailed insight into his or her energy use through an app or website. The objective is that the consumer will use this information to save energy and reschedule energy use to a more economically advantageous timeframe.
Setting up a system that will eventually read two million meters with a very high level of reliability and availability is not an easy task. The first smart meters date back to 2006. Since then, a number of different versions of the meter have appeared with varying types of hardware. Various versions of the software also exist due to changes in legislation with regard to privacy and security.
Close cooperation with the customer
Our knowledge of smart meters has grown organically. We have worked for grid operators and utility companies since the advent of the first smart meters. We continue to expand on that basis thanks to a knowledge of the technology, the domain and the business. We envisage even more applications and possibilities for the MFE primarily in the area of data processing and analysis.