If we want the next generations to inherit a world that is still rich in energy sources, we must think at how we are managing such sources today. Natural Gas, a non-renewable, naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas, is one of the energy sources that we all must learn to manage with care, if we want it to last for our children and grandchildren.
The era of Natural Gas Smart Meters has come.
The first step to manage a source correctly is to control its consumption rates. Both Gas Companies and end users can reach the objective of controlling Natural Gas consumption rates thanks to a very common object: the residential gas meter. In recent years, the introduction of the so-called “smart” gas meters has given a great help in achieving even better results in consumption monitoring and billing activities.
From a general point of view, we can define a smart meter as an automated, centralized and integrated system that provides electronic measurements of electricity, water and gas consumption through smart sensors and appliances.
Entering the world of gas smart metering, we can say that there are two different approaches:
- the more conservative one is based on traditional mechanical measuring systems to which a smart electronic data elaboration and transmission unit is added.
- the most innovative approach, based on digital measurement techniques in combination with smart data elaboration and transmission features. This second category includes one of the most widespread type of gas meter to date, the ultrasonic smart meter.
What advantages will it bring?
The introduction of smart meters, and, in particular, of ultrasonic smart meters, will bring many advantages both to the end users and to the gas providers. Let us focus on some characteristics of this type of smart meters and see what the related benefits are.
· Ultrasonic Smart Meters have no mechanical parts
The fact that there is no mechanical part in ultrasonic smart meters means, first of all, that there is no danger of mechanical faults. Therefore, the lifetime of these meters is longer than that of traditional ones. Furthermore, the mechanical parts of traditional meters are subject to wear and tear and this may affect the quality of their measurement. Having no mechanical parts, ultrasonic meters will not suffer of performance degradation: the quality of their measurement will not be altered over time.
Another advantage brought by the lack of mechanical parts is silent working. Ultrasonic smart meter are definitely quieter than conventional mechanical ones.
The most visible advantage connected to the feature we are analyzing is the fact that ultrasonic smart meter have reduced dimensions and weight. This leads to lower storage and transportation cost.
· Ultrasonic Smart Meters feature self-diagnostic functions
Smart Meters’ self-diagnostic functions let the gas company know when something is wrong in their device (for instance, it can signal a low battery status, an ultrasonic sensor error or a valve leakage). This feature allows the gas company to intervene immediately in case of default and avoid further negative consequences.
· Ultrasonic Smart Meters provide precise and real-time measurement
The fact that ultrasonic smart meters deliver up-to-date and real-time data brings advantages both to the gas providers and to the end users. Gas providers can use the data relating to hourly gas consumption to create a “consumer profile” in order to provide their customers with personalized services and deals. On the other hand, the customers can regulate their own gas consumption and save money, enhancing energy efficiency.