T&D World Magazine

Siemens SmartSynch Helps Reduce Costs and Improve Billing

Siemens Communications Inc. announces the release of the Siemens® wireless module-enabled SmartSynch® Residential SmartMeter™, North America’s first residential advanced meter designed to function on Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) cellular networks. The high-performance electric meter transmits power status and usage data that could enable power companies to eliminate estimated bills, provide more frequent power information to its customers and provide emerging enhanced services.

Resembling a traditional electric meter, the next-generation SmartMeter includes SmartSynch technologies and a Siemens GSM MC56 wireless module. The meter uses public wireless networks for communication between each SmartMeter and the SmartSynch Transaction Management System (TMS) software residing at a power company’s operations center. Working in close cooperation with SmartSynch Inc., Siemens optimized the Siemens MC56 for use in the SmartMeter. The triple band MC56 module operates using 850/1800/1900 MHz frequencies.

Siemens produces a broad range of wireless modules designed to meet the requirements of applications used in the energy sector. When used in power meters, Siemens wireless modules allow for the reading of meters at any time, enabling power companies to implement and track variable price rates in line with changing seasons and customers' energy consumption habits. Additionally, the Siemens solution, by transmitting up to date customer data, can assist in making invoicing easier and more accurate.

Benefits of the SmartMeter include no single point of failure. Because each meter includes its own radio, it is capable of immediately reporting, updating, and billing at the end of a power outage in contrast to other systems that can take weeks to repair and return online. Additional powerful features include proactive notification of power outages, tampering and power quality; remote programmability; and two-way wireless communication. Two-way capability enables power companies to request real-time customer service billing data on demand and offers consumers the potential to control “smart home” elements such as lights, heating, and cooling fixtures by calling home.

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