The amount of electricity consumed can be measured in many different ways, hence the different types of electricity meters. However, many homeowners and commercial-building owners are usually oblivious to the fact that meters do not function the same way. If you fall into this group of individuals, read on to acquaint yourself with the different types of electricity meters available.
Also known as electro-mechanical induction meters in technical terms, standard meters are the most common type of electricity meters found in homes and small businesses across Australia. These meters count the number of times an aluminium disc, which is mounted on a spindle, rotates. The number of rotations determines the amount of electricity used. Typically, standard meters measure electricity usage in terms of kilowatt hours (kWh). To read this type of electricity meter, read from left to right, excluding any red numbers that may be present.
As the name suggests, interval meters record the amount of electricity used over a specific length of time, say 30 mins, 45 mins, 1 hour, and so forth. This means you can pay different electricity prices for consumption at different times of the day if retail electricity tariffs change. One of the biggest upsides of interval meters is the opportunity for pricing plans that offer incentives to cut your demand for electricity, especially during peak times. That best explains why these meters are also called "time of use" meters.
Accumulation meters record the total amount of electricity used over a larger period of time compared to interval meters. With these meters, you are charged a fixed cost per kilowatt of the electricity you use, irrespective of the time of the day you use it. Therefore, these meters are also called "flat-rate" meters. The readings displayed on accumulation meters are entered into handheld devices by meter readers for processing and then validated by metering systems. Once the data has been processed, it is sent to your electricity retailer for final billing.
Smart meters are the most advanced types of meters available on the market. They do not merely record your electricity but also offer a selection of services, including allowing you to keep track of your electricity usage with greater accuracy in real time. Smart meters eliminate the need to rely on manual and estimated readings, as billing information is directly sent to the electricity provider. The best part is that the bills you are asked to pay are based on readings that are 100% accurate.
Talk to an electrician for more information.