Design of a Robust Prepaid Energy Metering and Billing System
Energy meters in Nigeria have dominantly been electromechanical in nature but are gradually being replaced by more sophisticated and accurate digital and electronic meters. Errors get introduced at every stage of energy billing, like: errors with electro-mechanical meters, human errors while noting down the meter reading; and error while processing the paid bills and the due bills. There is no proper way to know the consumer's maximum demand, usage details, losses in the lines, and power theft. The remedy for this drawback is a prepaid energy billing, which could be titled, “Pay before Service”. There are clear results from many countries, where prepaid system has reduced the revenue loss by a large amount. A prepaid energy meter enables power utilities to collect energy bills from the consumers’ prior to the usage of power by delivering only as much as what has been paid for. In this work, a robust and a more efficient prepaid energy metering which uses the existing Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) networks is presented. The technique includes a GSM-Based Energy Meter(GBEM), GSM-Based Recharge Module(GBRM) where by the power utility recharges the GBRM remotedly through mobile communication based on customer’s request; and GSM-Based Tamper detector(GBTD) which detects abnormalities and sends sms alert to power utility for on site visit or investigation. A prior billing is bound to do away with the problems of unpaid bills and human error in meter readings, thereby ensuring justified revenue for the utility.
Keywords: SMS, GSM, microcontroller, energy meter, server