13 December 2012 – A new prepaid electricity meter has been launched by Conlog. The new device is built on a long-standing heritage which began when Conlog launched the world’s first single phase DIN rail mounted prepaid meter, called the BEC44, more than 15 years ago.  

The new meters carry the same brand name and have the smallest dimensions in the industry, but functionally these meters are light years ahead of the original BEC44.The range comprises two distinct products, being a wired and integrated wireless solution, and the meters can operate in prepayment or post-payment mode.

This means that the utility is able to change a consumer’s service from post-payment to prepayment and back to post-payment simply through the use of a token. This will result in massive infrastructure and capital expenditure cost reductions, as previously the deployment of prepayment necessitated a complete swap out of the existing metering infrastructure and devices.

Another innovation unique to Conlog’s product is the delayed reconnection functionality. This significantly reduces the utility’s inrush current when supply is reconnected to the grid, as each meter will randomly reconnect  anywhere between one second and 255 seconds (with the maximum delay being configurable), thus ensuring the network is not overly stressed.

The meter further deals with an increasing challenge faced by utilities, which is the integration of renewable, or green energy, specifically in mini-grid environments. The new BEC44s are able to limit the daily capacity of the network, to ensure that customers are only able to consume their allocated allowance.  

To cater for world markets, the meters can be configured with a multitude of communication interfaces, dependent on the utility’s requirements, such as the galvanically isolated wire link, a wireless RF communication link, an optical port, the traditional technical field service port and others.

Further to this there are several credit regions accommodated in the meter, such as emergency credit and lifeline, which can be uniquely configured to a utility’s specific parameters and needs. Utilities can also configure free electricity allocations or government grants, whereby a daily amount can be allocated to the consumer, to prevent them from consuming all the electricity immediately and ending up without electricity for the remainder of the month.

The new meters cover most of today’s challenges, but more importantly, are also future-proofed in terms of a smart world. The range is fully Eskom DSP34-1635 compliant, providing the building blocks to unleash two-way communication and other smart requirements.

In line with this, the meters have integrated demand side management functionality built in, so that when it is integrated with a Conlog AMI product, the utility has the ability to remotely manage a consumers electricity demand and, where necessary, to shed load in a controlled, yet simple, manner.  

Conlog’s two way communication also enables utilities to see consumption anomalies and implement suitable revenue protection programmes.

With over 50 programmable features, the meter is able to provide utilities with a revolutionary level of flexibility and customisation, to suit their unique requirements.

Caption: The recently launched BEC44 metering range offers utilities one device that can operate as a prepaid, post-pay or smart meter.

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