What is the electronic meter?

The remotely managed meter as a key part of energy transition 

The electricity sector is immersed in a transition process to ensure more respect for the environment. To make this change possible, the electricity grids will play an essential role as a connecting link between highly distributed renewable generation and the end users of the energy. Customers are playing an active role in the generation of electricity by requesting useful information to manage their demand. 

Transformation of the electricity grids into Smart Grids is now a reality in the energy sector, the deployment of electronic meters is one of the mainstays of grid digitalisation. In Spain, 100% of all delivery points have an electronic meter, the installation of which has gradual, at no cost to the end user. 

How does a smart meter work?

Its workings are very simple. The distributor company installs the meter on the boundary of the property between the distributor company and the end customer. The customer can either purchase the meter or pay a monthly rent that includes installation and maintenance costs and that is regulated on the Spanish market. The vast majority of customers have chosen to rent it. Once installed, the electronic meter records the energy consumed or generated and sends this information over the low-voltage electricity grid (a system known as PLC). This is a very safe, reliable and low-cost communications system.

The mass implementation of smart meters has generated major advantages to customers: 

  • Financial savings by contracting more flexible commercial tariffs
  • Reduction in consumption based on information on the times when the energy was consumed 
  • Reduction in time required to process new connections or re-connections
  • Reduction in system losses
  • Greater safety for installations
  • Better supply quality. 

Smart meters have the capacity to measure the energy consumed and generated and facilitate the development of self-consumption. They can be installed without any increase in the costs associated to energy metering. 

In short, electronic meters are already installed in all Spanish homes, they are providing instant advantages for customers and will play a key role in the energy transition process. The first steps of energy transition have already been taken and at Viesgo we are particularly proud to head this change.

Author: Gabriela Vázquez, Viesgo Distribución