How to prepare for a successful electrical meter installation

This post provides a checklist of pre-installation requirements that must be taken care of before the meter installation date (electrical meters).

 

1. Get your labels right

Electrical installations are generally the result of original installations combined with a number of changes and upgrades made over the years to accommodate site expansion or new business requirements. Subsequently, electrical wiring is very often poorly documented.

Labeling associates electrical circuits and electrical loads fed from such circuits. For example, a circuit may be labeled ‘Compressor 1’ or ‘MCCB 1’, which is self-contained and clear, but a circuit may also be labeled ‘Kitchen’ or ‘West wing G.S.’, for which the association is unclear (does this circuit feed everything in the kitchen including ventilation, light, sockets etc?).

Inconsistent labeling should be identified and fixed during the project proposal stage. If this was not done we recommend that the labeling of the circuits that will be monitored at installation date are verified prior to installation, to avoid installation to be lengthened or postponed and to prevent measurements to be misleading.

 

 
Make sure that the circuits you want monitored are correctly labeled
 

2. Organise your meter supply

Most 3-phase electrical meters will be fed from a Type C 6AMP 3P MCB, possibly wired behind a 3P isolator, to supply the meter with power and voltage references. Neutral and Ground lines are generally needed depending on the electrical system (Wye/Delta).

Please note that the MCB must be fed from the same transformer as the circuits that will be monitored by the meter. This is to ensure that the correct voltage reference is used with the current measurements.

 

 
Install breakers to supply your meters
 

It is important to get the MCB wired before installation date as its wiring may require the distribution board to be shut down for a few minutes.

 

3. Deploy and test your Internet points

Unless GPRS/3G routers are used, network points (cat5, cat5e, cat6) must be provided at the location where meters will be deployed. These network points must provide Internet access when plugged to the meters or to a data concentrator (e.g. Wattics Octopus Gateway).

 
Provide Internet access at the meter location
 

Very often network points end up being deployed on the installation date, in parallel to the meter installation. While it is usually faster to pull cat5 cables from the closest server room or network patch panel back to the meter room, it may happen that some unexpected delays occur due to unavailability of the IT staff or complex firewall configuration. We therefore recommend that the network points are deployed prior to the installation to avoid any delay on installation date, and to signal any specific network configuration requirements (static IP address, MAC address registration, ports to be opened for outward data communication, etc) that may require specific meter or data concentrator configuration.

 

Flag early any IT requirement

 

When possible, we ask for a network point with DHCP enabled, meaning that the meter or data concentrator will automatically setup Internet access by obtaining its local IP address and associated network information through the service called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).

For sites where DHCP cannot be enabled and where network settings must be manually set for each metering device, we ask the IT department or IT contractor to provide the following information:

  • LAN Subnet mask
  • LAN default gateway IP address
  • Static IP address for each meter and data concentrator

The meters’ and data concentrators’ MAC addresses can also be made available on request prior to installation via support@wattics.com.

 

Please contact us at support@wattics.com if you have any question related to your pre-installation requirements.

 

Anthony Schoofs

Chief Technical Officer at Wattics
Anthony drives Wattics' innovation on energy efficiency for industrial and grid environments. Anthony is also behind WSNbuzz.com, a blog covering technology advances within the smart grid and IoT markets, and was listed in 2011 amongst the top 100 IoT thinkers. Anthony was recently awarded the Globe Sustainability Research Award for his contribution to advancing knowledge on sustainability.

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