At home, we all have an analogue meter that measures our electricity consumption. This meter is read once a year when the meter reader comes or when we send the reading to Sibelga. Unless we note the readings every day, it is difficult to have a view of what we consume before receiving the bill from our supplier. That is without mentioning the fact that it is impossible to display our electricity use over time.
As in other areas (telephones, banking, etc.), computerisation has emerged on the scene. Produced in increasingly fewer numbers, the days of the good old meters are numbered, as they make way for electronic meters.
Electronic? Smart? What’s the difference?
The electronic meter records the electrical power used and the quantities consumed in its memory at different times of day, every day of the week, in accordance with a pre-established protocol. The data can be recovered by the reader or the customer who is asked to transmit the readings, in the case of self-generators. For high-voltage consumers, readings are electronically sent to Sibelga by the meter.
The smart meter or communicating meter basically does the same thing. The difference lies in the fact that with this meter there is two-way communication. It can send consumption data to Sibelga at regular intervals to be defined. And Sibelga can remotely activate the meter (turn it on or off), question it, adjust the power and check it is working properly. The meter also sends an alarm if there is any attempt to open the casing (suspicion of fraud).
Why is everyone talking about smart meters today?
Since 2009, Europe has recommended that Member States set up smart metering systems to encourage active consumer participation in the energy supply market.
The aim is to give them access to their consumption data so they are more aware of their energy use and the times of the day when they consume energy so they can make the most of flexible tariff offers in the future (due to be available quite soon)./p>
The European Energy Efficiency Directive (2012) also requires the installation of electronic meters in certain cases. This directive was transposed into Brussels law in 2014, making it compulsory for this type of meter to be fitted in new-builds or where home owners carry out major renovation work.