[Homestead] Reading meters
don.bowen at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 3 12:32:50 EST 2008
There are all sorts of ways to reduce the cost of reading meters. The
expensive way is to send someone out in a pickup then walk from house to
In the early 80s I worked on a very early attempt to cut the price of
reading meters. It was a hand held computer and printer. The reader still
had to walk up to your meter but when the numbers were entered, a bill was
printed out. The bill was placed on your front door. The postage savings
and interest income from those who paid as soon as they got the bill paid
for the system in only a few months.
The next step was under development when I left. The meter was replaced
with a "Smart meter" and hooked to either an RF responder or an IR link.
A van would drive down the street reading meters as it went along. More
expensive but huge labor savings.
Some current units are hooked back to the office via control lines, IP, or
over the wire and can be read without sending anyone anywhere. Smart meters
can also be adjusted to charge more during peak hours and give a discount
during slow hours.
There are several schemes being implemented and as fuel and labor costs
increase you will see more. Only cost of implementation is slowing the
There is also an insidious side effect to all this. Some police forces are
using the real time information to monitor electricity use to look for home
Don Bowen KI6DIU
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