Interval metering in Australia

As the states in Australia move with varying speeds towards full competition, the maintenance of standards and types of metering allowed remain carefully controlled. Layson Pty Ltd., based in Sydney, has developed a remote meter reading system which has received regulatory approval.

The system was developed primarily for two of the major utilities – Energy Australia and AGL. AGL is the major gas player in Australia. It uses Layson's meter data loggers for reading gas and hot water meters in high rise apartment-style develop-ments. Energy Australia reads electricity and hot water meters in the same environment.

Each unit can read 32 meters, and 32 units can be interconnected as a network via RS 485, allowing remote reading and programming of 1,024 meters from a single network. AGL has some 700 networks installed, reading in excess of 40,000 meters via an ‘auto-dial' package provided by Layson. This package reads the meters and acts as a monitoring tool by tranmitting information such as meter tamper, loss of supply, modem/communication failure and so on.

For the first time the use of data loggers attached to electricity meters has been acknowledged as not constraining innovation. Four of the major utilities supported Layson in its application for approval of its system for use in this market as an ancillary device which met all metrological requirements. Utilities using the system no longer need to purchase smart or interval meters; they can buy cheaper, pulsed output meters and use Layson's data loggers. The National Standards Commission, which regulates and administers the National Measurements Act, has approved the system as an interval metering device.