Why do you want an AMI or so called Smart Meter, or for that matter why would you choose an STS Meter? In today’s technological advancement in metering technologies there is a lot of hype and definitions related to metering equipment. This makes it very confusing to a consumer to choose the correct sub-metering equipment for their exact requirements and needs. This article is intended to help clarify the difference between the two terminologies of Smart Metering also called AMI and the traditional STS metering more widely known and used. The first question one would ask is: What does the metering equipment need to do for me? What are the functionalities I need in a meter?
Once that is established, it makes it easier to choose the correct meter. STS Meters (as opposed to AMI/Smart meters) are very common both in municipal and sub-metering applications. For the last 2 decades STS meters have been the only option when it came to metering and they were installed worldwide. Most STS meters are recognised by the STS logo on the meter as well as the familiar token transfer technology. Any meter where you need to enter a 20 digit token is a STS meter, making the recognition thereof very easy. Though PrepaidMeters.co.za provides both STS and AMI Smart meters; most the meters found in our online shop are STS Prepayment meters both for electricity and water. STS meters and technology is exclusive to the prepayment industry. This means that an STS meter can only be ever used as a prepaid meter. STS technology has only one-direction communications to the meter. This means a token can be loaded to the meter but one cannot see or get data of what portion of the token was consumed. In simple words, the meter cannot report back what is happening on the meter itself.
AMI Smart Meters are a newer, more advanced technology whereby the meters communicate on a two way basis or better known as bi-directional communication to a data concentrator and server. In simple words, one can read what is happening on the meters; what amount of electricity was consumed, when it was consumed, did someone try to tamper with the meter, etc.
Because the AMI Meters can “talk” bi-directionally (send and received information) this mean that the meter can also receive the purchased utility without the 20 digit token and without the user having to physically input it into the meter (the 20 digit token information can be sent to the meter itself automatically and/or periodically).
For meter users such functionality can be of great value as they no longer have to deal with the input of such long numbers as the 20 digit token, and the errors that often go with such tasks.
At PrepaidMeters.co.za we realise the great values that both STS and AMI have for meter owner and users and for that reason most AMI meters sold at PrepaidMeters.co.za can still work the old fashioned way; both with or without tokens.
However, AMI technology doesn’t stop there, it further enables post payment as well as prepayment, immediate tamper alerts, load management, ToU (ToU) tariffs and much more. This is a great advantage in comparison with STS which is an exclusive prepayment technology.
Therefore to accurately chose the right meter for the right application one would need to know what the meter needs to perform. Does the meter require ToU tariff, does it make a difference if the meter user enters 20 digit tokens, or does this needs to be automated (e.g. applicable to old age homes whereby it is hard for people to enter the tokens), is there a budget constraint on the purchase, is there a requirement for identifying tampering quickly an efficiently? All these questions an much more will help identify what meter would one need.
The range of AMI Smart Sub-Meters is as extensive as STS meters. In the AMI sub-meters range you will find, single-phase integrated keypad, single-phase split meters, single and three-phase PLC (Power Line Communication Meters), single-phase British footprint as well as din rail meters and three-phase integrated keypad and PLC (Power Line Communication) meters.
At PrepaidMeters.co.za we provide both STS and AMI Smart meters and customers are encouraged to contact us so that we can assist in the correct choice of meters for the correct application.