The smart energy meter with bi-directional networking capability is a key component of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system, which is of itself essential for the operation of a smart grid, writes Li Xiang Feng, chief technical offer at Star Instrumentation.

AMI smart energy meters with optional plug-in modules for RF, PLC and GPRS/3G are gaining in popularity among global utilities.

Star Instrument’s STAR-NET AMI system has now evolved to its second generation and consists of a single-phase and three-phase post payment meter series, a single-phase and three-phase STS keypad prepayment meter series, data concentrator units (DCU), data collectors, a host communication and management server, an MDM system, and a power-vending management system.

The STAR-NET system has been successfully implemented in AMI projects across China, Vietnam, Mongolia and other countries.

STAR-NET AMI System Infrastructure

The MDMS layer is composed of three parts.
1. Master system workstation: this is involved with the functions of customer categorisation and archiving management, meter reading, power-vending, parameter configuration, relay control, client power consumption behaviour recording and analysis, report generation, etc.

2. Application server: takes charge of load analysis and control, device management (e.g. meter periodical inspection, random sampling check, routine maintenance and notification), client historical data queries, tendency analysis, etc.

3. Data server: retrieves, synchronises and backs up system data. It also allows access from external power-vending POS and banking systems.

A security encryption/decryption server is always included in the MDMS, which is responsible for the key management, data encryption and decryption functions. Real time meter data and status accessed by remote meter reading can....

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