Avoid delays and unplanned costs linked to the installation of smart metering systems
Here we give you a few tips on how to avoid the most common pitfalls of a project proposal we come across when we provide quotes and install smart metering systems as part of a larger project.
- There are smart meters and ordinary water meters. Not all ordinary meters are compatible with the necessary impulse readers that provide “smart” capabilities. Hence the need and cost of having a water meter replaced should be determined before the tender process. The price will depend on the water supplier in your area.
2. The advanced metering infrastructure should ideally be a stand-alone project item as dividing it into several items can lead to complications further on in the project (e.g. electricity metering as part of an electrical project, water metering as part of a mechanical project), especially if different contractors are involved and each is responsible for their area of expertise or if a single client has more than one facility, and each facility is offered separately.
Difficulties arise when the contractors choose and install their own metering equipment for their part of the project without considering the following:
- the metering equipment must be compatible with the central unit and software solution provided by the main metering solution provider
- the equipment must be located optimally for signal strength
It is simpler to include the whole metering solution as a stand-alone item and allocate it to just one contractor. Should that not be possible, then the requirements of the main metering provider (who provides the central unit and the data processing software) need to be clearly communicated to all the contractors.
Learn more about how a AMR system works in practice.
3. The site owner must contact the utility providers to gain permission ahead of the installation and to arrange for their representatives to be present during the installation.
If the utility provider already has its own AMR system in place for their own billing purposes, one needs to arrange access to the provider’s data (if collected at the required frequency) at an additional cost. Alternatively, one needs to discuss the possibility of a double connection to the meter. In some cases, the utility company may not have considered the possibility of multiple connections and a solution needs to be found.
Some smaller utility companies may not even have a price list for this kind of service as they have never received a similar request before. One should bear in mind that negotiations with utility companies can take time, are not always simple (utility companes are subject to public procurement) and may present additional unplanned costs.
4. For public sector establishments in the Republic of Croatia consumption data must be submitted to the National Energy Management Information System (ISGE) in accordance with the Energy Efficiency Act. Therefore, the automatic transfer of consumption data to the information system must be included as a requirement of the smart metering solution.
All the above points need to be considered during project planning and included in the project specifications. We offer our many years of experience and expertise in planning an uncomplicated installation of an AMR system and in preparing a realistic budget specification to avoid delays and additional costs.
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