Electricity is a key component in our modern society. We need this power to ensure our homes and businesses can operate as intended. As such, each building that consumes energy requires an energy meter to measure the level of consumption. By regularly testing electric meters and performing proper meter maintenance, we can assure that proper readings are issued and that this system continues to function as it should.
Meters work by reading the watts of electricity you use and converting this usage into watt-hours, which are an easier measurement to read. For instance, if you use a 1,000-watt vacuum for an hour, your readout would display 1,000 watt-hours of electricity. In recent years, meters have become more high-tech. This means that meters can now collect data more accurately, but there are drawbacks. Record tampering attempts, remotely detected changes, and display readout issues via LCD displays raise concerns about electromagnetic interference. To mitigate the risk of inaccurate readouts due to interference, it’s important to regularly undergo meter testing.
Testing Electric Meters
Performance meter tests are divided into three groups, as specified by IEC standards. These include climatic, electrical, and mechanical aspects and conditions. Climatic tests look for issues related to the influence of outside climatic conditions, while mechanical components can be manually tested with energy meter testing equipment. Electrical components can be included in many different tests before being given the green light. Some of the most common things looked at during this testing can include:
- Adequate voltage supply
- Electromagnetic compatibility and resistance to interference
- Heating effects
Possibly the most important test to be conducted, an electromagnetic compatibility test ensures that the readouts aren’t being unduly influenced by an outside source. This problem has become increasingly common due to the circuits we use emitting electromagnetic energy. This energy is capable of affecting the circuitry itself and nearby equipment and can travel through both conduction and radiation. The electromagnetic capability test is conducted in two parts.
- Emission Test: This test ensures that the energy meter isn’t affecting any nearby instruments itself. This test also checks to ensure that the meter isn’t radiating or conducting EMI beyond a set acceptable limit. For this, a conducted emissions test and a radiated emissions test. During the conducted test, wires are tested to check EMI escape, while a radiated test measures the escape of energy through free space.
- Immunity Test: When testing electric meters, an immunity test works to ensure the meter isn’t affected by the EMI of any nearby equipment. As with the above, this is separated into conducted and radiated tests. A conducted test check for interference through contract or nearby power or interface lines. Whereas the radiated test checks for EMI in the area close to the meter. This can also be known as an electromagnetic high-frequency field test.
Regularly testing electric meters is one of the most important ways to ensure that this equipment will maintain efficient and accurate function without interference or error. If your meter hasn’t been tested lately, or if you believe there is a discrepancy in its readouts, reach out to a professional and have them come out to take a look. They will have the appropriate equipment for testing electric meters and will be able to quickly tell you if there are any issues you need to have resolved.