Meter Reading Devices

There are a number of meter reading devices in the market today. Modern meter reading devices offer accuracy and precision in measurement of the utility consumed, which helps keep track of municipal utility billing. Earlier human operators used to travel to the meter location and manually document the meter reading of each consumer. This had several drawbacks. First this involved travel which drained time, money, and effort. Secondly, human beings can make mistakes. Thirdly, there is an overhead of manpower cost. The current trend is to use mechanized devices to monitor the consumption of utilities. Therefore, less manpower is required.

Types of Meter Reading Devices

1. Automated Meter Reading Devices

Automated Meter Reading (AMR) is the trend nowadays. This technology collects real time data which is sent to a central database using networking technology. The meter is read by the meter interface which also converts the data into digital format. Also, every meter reading should have a code attached so that the data refers to a unique consumer.

The data is then transmitted to a central database. Leaks are also monitored along with meter tampering. The meter interface has a power supply, sensors, control electronics, along with communications software. It converts mechanical data into digital data. It is also responsible for identifying whose data it is so that correct utility billing can be implemented.

There also exist communication protocols to transfer data from the meter to the central database. Hand held devices are put in contact with the meter interface so that the data can be deciphered.

There are vehicle mounted devices. They need to pass by the meter so that the data can be collected and sent to the central data base. There must be both software and hardware for receiving transmitted data, doing analysis, and automatic billing.

2. Radio-equipped Handheld Computer

The hand held computer is connected to a radio receiver. Through the radio the reading of the meter is taken. This meter reading device is used in hazardous conditions where manual meter reading is difficult.

3. Mobile Data Collection

Automobiles are armed with radio receivers. The utility billing system gives the route information to the automobile. All meters within range transmit their meter reading. This is then transmitted to the billing system for the purpose of bill generation. This type of meter reading device is becoming increasingly popular nowadays. It also incorporates state-of-the-art GPS mapping systems to ensure all meters in the route are covered.

4. Fixed Network Meter Reading Device

The meters are connected to fixed networks. Data can be transmitted a long distance through network cables.

5. Telephone-Based Remote Meter Reading device

These devices are of two types: inbound and outbound. The master computer is called at pre-scheduled times and provided with consumption data. This is an example of an inbound system.

In an outbound system the master computer calls the meter modules to collect the data. In addition, telephone based meter reading devices could either be direct or remote mount.

Final Note

Meter reading devices have greatly simplified and improved the process of collecting meter data. They have ushered in a new era of quality meter reading, taking efficiency to an entire new level, not to mention, helping out the environment. These devices come along with sophisticated meter reading software that can connect with your utility billing ecommerce software with a user friendly interface.

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