Pattern Approval of Electricity Meters Update March 2014

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Pattern Approval

Pattern Approval of Electricity Meters, March 2014 update

Ending a six plus month process, the Australian Government National Measurement Institute has published its response and decisions from the consultation entitled “Proposed Amendments to the Pattern Approval of Electricity Meters”, July 2013. Finally, with certainty of the regulatory requirements in Australia manufacturers, importers, designers and users of electricity meters used for trade can make strategic decisions and take action.  This article discusses the commercial impacts for existing owners and users, project managers and consultants, and meter manufacturers.

Pattern Approval EM5400

Landis + Gyr Pattern Approved Electricity Meter

Impact for owners and users of electricity meters used for trade

NMI M 6-1 Electricity Meters. Part 1: Metrological and Technical Requirements WILL be amended to accept the parameters in OIML R 46.

As a result of the industry consultation the Australian requirements for trade meters will be amended to bring it more in line with international standards.  It is expected that the benefit for users will be new meters obtaining pattern approved status, increasing the options available and competition.

NMI M 6-1 Electricity Meters. Part 1: Metrological and Technical Requirements WILL NOT be amended to accept 6kV impulse test voltage for meters defined as sub meters.

It is unlikely that many of the existing commercial meter models used in Australia, such as DIN or Panel Mount meters, will be able to obtain Pattern Approval due to this specific requirements of the pattern approval electrical tests. Owners and users will need to consider and enact asset management strategies for the scenarios of replacing a failed electricity meter or adding to the existing meters.  As the form factor of Pattern Approved electricity meters is probably different, special consideration will need to be given for the size and connection of the new meters.  For users who have automatic meter readings systems, the plan on how to integrate a different meter with different interfaces, protocols and tag structures will need to be covered.

The transitional arrangement in the form of grandfathering WILL come to an end on the 18 April 2014

Once the grandfathered stock available is exhausted, any meter that needs to be added or replaced in the future will need to be replaced by a Pattern Approved meter.

If you have any spares in stock, get them grandfathered with the NMI.  Ensure that you have sufficient Grandfathered stock, in order to have at least 5 years worth of spare stock plus any planed meter expansion. Applications for grandfathering of stock can be found at http://www.measurement.gov.au/Pages/Exemption-Lifted-Electricity-Meters.aspx. Note that the Transitional period noted at this link was extended since the original article was published.

Pattern Approval ION8800

Schneider Electric ION8800 Pattern Approved Electricity meter

Impact for projects in in design, tender and construction

NMI M 6-1 Electricity Meters. Part 1: Metrological and Technical Requirements WILL be amended to accept the parameters in OIML R 46.

Potentially new meter models will be available on the market that can be used for trade. These meters will need to pass Pattern Approval and receive a certificate of approval before they are used for trade. A regular review of current Pattern Approval certificates on the NMI website should be undertaken to ensure the meters you plan to use are fit for purpose.

NMI M 6-1 Electricity Meters. Part 1: Metrological and Technical Requirements WILL NOT be amended to accept 6kV impulse test voltage for meters defined as sub meters.

It is unlikely that existing meter models such as DIN or Panel Mount available in the market will be able to obtain Pattern Approval.  The lowest risk strategy is to ensure that space, size and electrical board designs will allow the use of the current Pattern Approved models in the market, higher risk strategies are to trust promises of manufacturers with new models in development will achieve Pattern Approval and meet your projects deadlines and not present excessive technical and logistical risks, or assume that you will secure the last of the existing grandfathered stock.

The transitional arrangement in the form of grandfathering WILL come to an end on the 18 April 2014

Once the grandfathered stock is exhausted, any meter that needs to be added or replaced in the future will need to be replaced by a Pattern Approval meter.

If you know that the stock is available now, secure it from your suppliers by deposit, outright purchase or other means.

If at the point of purchasing the meters for your project no grandfathered stock is available you will be faced with the choice of either dropping the metering for trade requirement or modifying the space, size and design of electrical boards to accommodate the larger flush mount pattern approved meters on the market.

Pattern Approval ION6200

Grandfathered Schneider Electric ION6200 Panel Electricity meter

Impact for manufacturers and importers of electricity meters used for trade

NMI M 6-1 Electricity Meters. Part 1: Metrological and Technical Requirements WILL be amended to accept the parameters in OIML R 46.

Manufacturers and importers who have models that meet OIML R 46 will need to submit and pay to have their models tested for pattern approval if they expect to have any significant role in the Australian market.

NMI M 6-1 Electricity Meters. Part 1: Metrological and Technical Requirements WILL NOT be amended to accept 6kV impulse test voltage for meters defined as sub meters.

Manufacturers and importers will need to invest the significant R&D investment to design and manufacture models to meet the 12kV impulse test voltage.  There has been low R&D activity as many manufacturers have shelved their projects as their existing models meet the 6kV impulse test voltage and the balance of NMI M 6-1.

The transitional arrangement in the form of grandfathering WILL come to an end on the 18 April 2014

Manufacturers and importers of electricity meters that have been using the transitional arrangement in the form of grandfathering have been trying to increase their stockpile of grandfathered meters. However it should be noted that the NMI has indicated that the transitional arrangements do not allow for new stock to be grandfathered so it is unclear if these new meters will be accepted.

Pattern Approval PM3000

Grandfathered Schneider Electric iEM3000 / PM3000 Series DIN Rail Electricity meter

In summary

Finally with regulatory certainty, all stakeholders who use and intend to use electricity meters for trade can make and commit to strategic decisions.  If you haven’t already, it is recommended that you seek professional advise and visit the NMI resources below.

National Measurement Institute, Electricity Meters: Consultation on Pattern Approval Requirements
National Measurement Institute, Pattern Approval Requirements NMI M 6-1
National Measurement Institute, Certificates of Approval for Electrcity Meters
 
This publication is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments , or to cover all aspects of those referred to. Readers should take professional advice before applying the information contained in this publication to specific issues.