Metering systems standards are in the safe hands of TC 13

TC 13 was one of the first technical committees created by the IEC. Originally involved with measuring equipment for the electricity industry, TC 13 today is responsible for establishing standards for equipment for electrical energy measurement and load control. There are 28 participating members from countries around the world.

Gyozo Kmethy is the secretary of TC 13, with the responsibility for co-ordinating the activities of the four working groups and for liaison with other IEC technical committees. "To fulfill its responsibility for producing metering system standards, TC 13 maintains a working relationship with IEC TC 57 Power system control and associated communications and CEN TC 294 Communications and systems for remote reading of meters through special joint working groups. We also liaise with CENELEC, UNIPEDE and OIML", says Kmethy.

TC 13’s working groups are involved in several different areas:

  • WG 11 – responsible for electricity metering equipment
  • WG 13 – responsible for dependability of electricity metering equipment
  • WG 14 – responsible for data exchange for meter reading, tariff and load control
  • WG 15 – responsible for prepayment electricity metering systems. Kyozo Kmethy The groups, made up of members from all over the world, meet regularly to develop new standards and to ensure the maintenance of those that have already been developed and promulgated. TC 13 standards are globally recognised. They have been adopted as European standards (EN) and many national committees use them as their national standards.

    In the USA the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed its own set of metering standards. "However, through US experts being present in working groups, there is an ongoing effort to harmonise documents," explains Kmethy.

    Work on keeping in line with horizontal standards, mainly in the field of electro-magnetic compatibility, is also ongoing. To make this task easier, TC 13 has established a new hierarchical document structure, in which general and particular requirements are separated. All new standards will be published using this structure, while existing documents will be brought into line when their maintenance becomes necessary.

    ESI TRENDS INFLUENCE STANDARDS

    One of the tasks of the various working groups is to keep abreast of changes in the electricity supply industry, so that action can be taken where appropriate. For example, Kmethy and his colleagues are aware that recent developments in electronic and communication technology mean that the use of multi-energy, multi-function electronic meters is increasing, because electronic metering equipment offers extended functionality in terms of quantities measured, tariff load and contract management functions and communication capabilities. They believe, however, that electro-mechanical meters will continue to play an important role in billing measurement applications, due to their reliability and life expectancy.

    The increase in the number of installations using electronic metering equipment has had an impact on the work of TC 13. "Because the failure modes of electronic equipment are very different from the well-known failure modes of electromechanical meters, the work on dependability standards will be a crucial part of TC 13," says Kmethy. "This will comprise definition of methods for the collection of reliability data, reliability screening test methods, reliability prediction and software reliability."

    The members of TC 13 believe that the most important technology developments with an impact on electricity metering are in the area of digital signal processing and communication. "Using digital signal processing techniques, the meter will be capable of measuring and processing many more quantities than just active or reactive energy. New communication media like the Internet, high speed power line carrier channels, cable TV and satellite communication will be used for exchanging metering data."

    Then the widespread use of non-linear loads has dramatically increased the harmonic content on the network. This necessitates characterising the behaviour of meters in the presence of harmonics and creates the need to measure voltage quality parameters as an integrated function of metering equipment.

    However, Kmethy and his team see deregulation in the electricity generation and distribution industry as the key influencer on future trends. "Deregulation increases the functional requirements of metering equipment in the areas of data storage and communication. For example, the advent of multi-commodity utilities (electricity, water, gas, heat) will create the need for data concentrators to capture information from various types of meter.

    "Then there will be a dramatic change in the legal and technical environment of the meter. These changes will raise the issues of ownership of metering equipment, ownership, security and confidentiality of data and controlling access to such data."

    MORE ABOUT TC 13

    TC 13’s customers are the electricity supply industry, equipment manufacturers, legal metrology bodies and end customers. "Except for end customers, these bodies are adequately represented in TC 13," Kmethy maintains.

    However, deregulation will have its impact here too. "Many new players are emerging, replacing traditional vertically integrated utilities. These will be the generation, transport and distribution companies, energy providers, meter operators, meter data consolidators and so on who will become the new customers of TC 13 standards."

    And as deregulation continues to roll out, the whole industry is becoming more business focused. As a consequence of this, Kmethy reports some difficulties in retaining the services of experts who are part of the working groups, and in obtaining new experts to join the committee.

    Work is being done on 19 new projects at present, while maintenance is occurring on three projects.

    ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

    TC 13 is keeping abreast of the increasing awareness of environmental issues in the electricity generation and distribution industry. Members believe that high precision multi-function communicating meters, tariff and load control equipment will help the industry generate, transport and distribute energy in a more efficient manner, thus contributing to the reduction of pollution.

    However, the electromagnetic environment is causing more and more concern. Kmethy says that TC 13 makes a lot of effort to define adequate tests to ensure that the accuracy and functions of metering equipment are maintained in the presence of electromagnetic fields.

    In addition, the issue of safe disposal of metering equipment at the end of its useful life will emerge and has to be handled. TC 13 will be entrusted with developing standards for this too; in the metering context, therefore, it is true to say that the committee’s activities range from producing standards for concept development right through to final disposal.