An article about meter technology company Itron in the Spokane (WA) Journal of Business makes the distinction between the last hot new thing in metering — automatic meter reading (AMR) — and the latest new thing — advanced meter infrastructure (AMI).
AMR provided a giant leap forward in reducing meter reading costs and improving accuracy and timeliness. The article reports that Itron is the No. 1 supplier of automatic meter-reading equipment in North America, but perhaps because of their success at AMR, they were a little slow jumping into the AMI business.
But AMI, because it provides a platform for two-way communication between the meter and the network, is the truly transformative development. The story explains:
When demand for electricity peaks on a utility’s system, the utility can seek to reduce usage by raising the rates it charges for power, and when demand falls, the utility can lower its rates, giving customers an incentive to use electrical equipment at such times, [Itron svp Philip] Mezey says. Two-way communication enables a utility to signal to customers when rates are being raised or lowered, and gives their customers’ meters the capability to measure their energy usage during periods of increased or decreased rates and the capability to price usage at the appropriate rates during those periods.
The article list several other options, none of which will be surprising to anyone who has been reading Lynne’s posts here. This Google search for “meter” on the KP site produces over 400 search results. (Note that some posts show up more than once.)