Ok smart meter, now what?

I read this months newsletter which talked about how Sense is Smart Meter capable. So I went to Smart Meter

According to them I have a smart meter. So what, if anything, different can I see in Sense?

Short answer: You can’t do anything with Sense and your current first generation Smart Meter, but many of the future second generation Smart Meters will have Sense capabilities pre-built inside of them.

If you follow the link in the newsletter, it leads to this blog that talks about early deployments of the second generation of smart meters.

The blog alludes to some of the first projects deploying the new “next-generation” Sense-enabled meters.

“But, next-generation smart meters are being installed now. New York state began rolling them out last fall and will have more than 500,000 in operation by the end of 2024. Other states, including Massachusetts, are set to follow with their own installations in 2025.”

If you want to read more about Sense-enabled Smart Meters, the info is on the Sense website link below, but this information is really targeted at utilities who are the buyers and installers for new meters.

https://sense.com/utilities/

The publicly-announced companies that Sense has partnered with on next-generation meters are Landis + Gyr and Itron. Between the two they own about 64% of the US meter market.

WOW good stuff

How do I know if my power company has 1st 2nd etc gen smart meters?

@deputypaulatl, if you have a smart meter, it is almost certainly a first generation one. As the article suggests, the earliest rollouts of next-generation meters, at least from utilities using the Sense-enabled meters, are in New York and Massachusetts.

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This was poorly worded. The State isn’t rolling out Gen 2 smart meters. Utilities within New York are rolling out the new meters.

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I wish we were getting 2nd gen meters.

The new meters my area and a huge portion of NY will be getting sometime in the next 2 years will provide hourly data to the utility, but the utility will only be providing customers will daily totals and many bills will still be estimated. In a couple more years 2026-28 when the rollout is complete we will get access to hourly totals and bills will no longer be estimated.
For the past 4 years my every other 24-34 day month estimated bills have been about 150% higher than my actual usage. My utility claims they have no way of correcting how their system estimates usage. Hopefully these dumb smart meters will eventually help with that.

My experience has been that my first gen smart meters installed by PG&E back in the mid 2000’s have pretty good time resolution, but are limited by communications speed. This model, formerly from GE, outputs new meter values every 5 sec or so, communicates with the utility far less frequently.

https://www.hubbell.com/aclara/en/Products/Power-Utilities/Utility-Measurement-Systems/Smart-Meters/c/11769849

I have a very small percentage of estimated reads, which occurs for two reasons- 1) Power outages and 2) Utility communication issues using the utility’s limited network. My parents who live elsewhere and use a different utility but still get their data in 15 minute increments, but were seeing far more estimated reads, and another Sense user in the same city was only seeing 50 actual reads out of 768 total per day, or only 6.5% actual (link below). I believe this user was suffering from limits in the utility’s communications network.

My Green Button energy usage data from PG&E is available in 15 minute increments for all my meters (I have 5 in an apartment building). Devices like the Rainforest Automation Eagle can read meters closer to their full rate (sample every 4-5 seconds) via a Zigbee/zwave connection, then send to the cloud or a local computer. I use a few of these for the apartments. I find that they are generally pretty good though much lower resolution than Sense. They are also more painful to set up than Sense, and tougher to keep connected to both the meter and local WiFi/Ethernet. The new Sense-enabled meters get around the utility’s communications limitations by piggybacking off of the users’ internet connection.

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There are device like this that you can use to read your smart meter

https://www.rainforestautomation.com/rfa-z114-eagle-200-2/

This is what mine shows with a simple (opensource) python program:

{"is_connected": true, "link_strength": 100, "channel": 11, "description": "Successfully Joined", "extpanid": 2112161847904819, "shortaddr": "0x081d", "status": "Connected"}
{"raw_summation_delivered": 87711080, "raw_summation_received": 91427878, "summation_delivered": 87711.08, "summation_received": 91427.878, "multiplier": 1, "divisor": 1000, "timstamp": "2024-02-18T23:56:40Z"}
{"demand": -1.219, "raw_demand": -1219, "multiplier": 1, "divisor": 1000, "timestamp": "2024-02-19T00:07:44Z"}
{"demand": -1.748, "raw_demand": -1748, "multiplier": 1, "divisor": 1000, "timestamp": "2024-02-19T00:07:59Z"}

It uses zigbee wireless protocol to read the smart meter.
It will show the 2 meter readings of my smart meter have (from grid / to grid)
In my case the meter had measured more to the grid than from the grid.
and it will show the current from/to grid as raw-demand, in the above example I am putting 1219 & 1748 watt back in the grid. In this case 15 seconds interval.

You could use this information and connect it to eg: homeassistant to make daily/weekly/monthly/yearly graps of your usage at a more detailed level than your utility company is willing to share.

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Just got word the meters our utility will be installing over the next few years are an upgraded smart meter that uses Verizon’s 4g LTE service along with Zigbee to communicate. The reason for these new “upgraded” models is they were “having a lot of communication issues” with the older 3g cellular models they had in place and were still installing in 2023. Apparently our utility just learned that 3g cellular was shut down in 2022.
The old meters were from 2006, the “upgraded” models are a 2010 version.
Our electricity provider will only be installing the new Itron OpenWay Riva meters for some customers who are also in their gas territory.

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From what I read, our meters use LORA wireless mesh networking with native IPV6 and every neighborhood has a cellular gateway to upload the information to the mother ship.
Afaik the individual meters do not have a cell service

@deputypaulatl ,
Just saw this sponsored article on the future of 2nd generation smart meters in California.

https://www.politico.com/sponsor-content/2023/05/16/why-we-cant-afford-to-game-californias-electrification-goals?cid=internal

While California was a leader in deploying the first generation of smart meters, many were installed between 15 and 20 years ago and are reaching retirement. In the coming years, California utilities will need to deliver new, advanced utility meters to consumers across the state that will help them manage energy with real-time data and engaging applications. In fact, millions of Californians will likely receive a new utility meter within the next five years.

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By Colin Gibbs, VP of Energy Services, Sense:

High-resolution data processing so customers can see what’s happening in real time – not just in 15-minute intervals a day later.

The irony is strong with this one after a 3 day outage and the status page still on all green…

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Yeah, outages should be a no-no in the utility reporting world though I do see some users’ bills from Gen 1 smart meters where 75%+ of the reads are estimated (essentially an outage). But they eventually true up with the utility company OK.

What about this statement:

Ability to run applications directly on the meter

The current Sense HW can not do anything locally.
Everything is run on “the cloud”
The Sense monitor doesn’t even have enough power to interact with more than xx smart plugs.

Saying one thing, while meaning something else.
That is called marketing, right ?

@dannyterhaar, Good questions. I don’t know because I don’t have a Revelo or other meter, which likely does include additional hardware. And I suspect that there is still a cloud component to running the app for the meter. But who knows ?

A longer excerpt gives more context. The last bit is probably the important part.

Ability to run applications directly on the meter, similar to the way you can access new apps and software through your smartphone. This attribute is crucial to future-proofing next-generation smart meters. It means consumers and utilities can access new software without replacing the hardware or actual meter, which takes time and money.

So it is not easy to value the content of the article of the VP.
Even though I think energy-of-internet will be a real thing.
Mqtt state machines being to control a lot of things.

Yeah, I have very mixed feelings about the new metering focus. On one hand, the global real-time metering and energy-monitoring market is thousands of times larger than the direct-to-consumer real-time energy monitoring market we’re participating in. Bits of news like this wake me up to the fact that we’re only seeing a partial slice of what Sense is up to.

On the flip side, we bought the direct-to-consumer product and that’s what we care about the most, though we have to care about their long-term growth as well, since that’s what keeps the cloud operating without a subscription.

ps: You mentioned earlier that the monitor doesn’t do much, but it actually does an extraordinary amount of work. If the monitor just passed raw data to the cloud, your network would be uploading a Terabyte or two per day (4M samples / sec x 2-4 bytes per sample x 3600 secs/hour x 24 hours/day)

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I meant to say:
It is not capable of doing much more than what it currently is doing.
I never tried to suggest it isn’t working hard or not gathering a lot of information.

But to add additional functionality to it, is not something I see possible.
Thanks for the details to that!

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