Municipal Metering Devices

A smart meter is an electronic device that records consumption of a resource in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing. Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. Unlike home energy monitors, smart meters can gather data for remote reporting. Such an advanced metering infrastructure differs from traditional automatic meter reading in that it enables two-way communications with the meter.

The term Smart Meter often refers to an electricity meter, but it also may mean a device measuring natural gas or water consumption.

Similar meters, usually referred to as interval or time-of-use meters, have existed for years, but “Smart Meters” usually involve real-time or near real-time sensors, power outage notification, and power quality monitoring. These additional features are more than simple automated meter reading. They are similar in many respects to Advanced Metering Infrastructure meters. Interval and time-of-use meters historically have been installed to measure commercial and industrial customers, but may not have automatic reading.

Research showed that as many as one in three confuse smart meters with energy monitors, also known as in-home display monitors. The roll-out of smart meters is one strategy for energy savings. While energy suppliers could save millions a year from their introduction, consumer benefits will depend on people actively changing their energy use. For example, time of use tariffs offering lower rates at off-peak times, and selling electricity back to the grid with net metering, may also benefit consumers.

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Project Details

  • Category: Municipal
  • Project Start Date:

Smart Water Meters

Cape Town Municipality issued a notice for the supply of Smart Water Meters. Donix partnered in the Research and Development for the automated supply of a constitutional free minimum supply to each household in South Africa.

dynamic flow controller water meter
Dynamic Flow Controller Prototype
smart water meter
Production Unit with box cut away
smart water meter concept
Smart Water Meter with clear enclosure

The clients water meter did not have the means to control the rate of water flow automatically. The Smart Water Meter needed to allow for the manual setting of certain flow parameters, the automated control and remote opening and closing of the associated valve. Collection and storage of data needed to be provided for to allow for the subsequent billing of the water consumption.The Smart meter employs inductive pulse technology for water measurement. This device registers the pulses, which are generated by the water meter as water is flowing through the meter. The water meter is connected to an electronic reading device. Bidirectional wireless data communication provides for the consumption control, display and data storage from a remote position – up to 1km line of sight. The device also registers any tamper condition to the meter and will close the electronic valve automatically when these parameters are breached. The electronic valve receives pulses from the electronic reading device through a RF connection between the electronic reading device and the electronic valve. As the pulses which are generated are received by the electronic valve, the pre-programmed credit decreases until the credit is depleted. This will cause the electronic valve to close. The devise monitors the reading and or tamper activity to the meter every 8 seconds.

Project background summary

Brief Detail of Our Approach / Method: The solution was an electro-mechanical design that was retrofitted to their existing design. This solution satisfies local water utilities needs to manage consumer demand for water. This includes but not limited to: Control flow of water for municipalities and for the client, accurate recording of water usage, management of household usage of 6000 liters of potable water per month (as per legislation) and network connectivity to mainframe for complete management. Important Results and Findings: The implementation of this design gave the client the ability to provide additional solutions to the municipalities such as an in-premise display, local and remote monitoring.