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New Elster R2S Smart Meter & Teardown

Written by: England, Richard on Dec 12, 2012

A bit of research turned up some really interesting info on my new Elster R2SD "Smart Meter". The meter was installed yesterday by Corix (a city of Fort Collins subcontractor). This meter is part of the new SmartGrid installation being deployed daily within the city of FortCollins.

My R2SD is commonly referred to as a "REX2".  It contains (2) radios.  The first radio is a 2-way 900mHz radio wihich is used as part of an automated meter reading system (AMR) called EnergyAxis. So with a radio in the meter, my meter becomes part of a network of smart meters which report to a master Alpha A3 meter also located in my neighborhood.  Using EnergyAxis, the city of FortCollins will eliminate the need to have meter readers manually read electric meters (saves gas, time and meter reader paychecks).  The city will also be able to more closely monitor peak demand electricty use.  My Elster meter is part of a growing network of Elster meters in my neighborhood which report electricty use and status to the city via the EnergyAxis "Smart Grid". If you want to learn more about EnergyAxis and its capabilities I've provided a link below and I highly recommend you watch the interactive demo.  The second radio in my meter is an optional Zigbee radio. The Zigbee radio will be "used for communication with devices that are not used in the billing read process".  Hopefully the Zigbee radio will let me see my electricity use on a home display "live" via Zigbee.  (It's my guess that the Zigbee radio is not enabled yet.) The "D" of my R2SD meter refers to an integrated service control switch which Fort Collins Utilities can use to connect (or disconnect) my electric service remotely via the EnergyAxis network. This will save the city money too as now they can connect or disconnect customers electricty remotely via software. No doubt this ultimately will save the city money over the long term.

Corix also replaced my water meter with a new unit. The new water meter communicates with my electric meter to provide the city with an automated capability to read both my electric and water usage remotely.  So gone are the days of the (water and electricty) meter readers.  My guess is that gas will be next ;-)

References:

About the meter:  http://www.ic.gc.ca/pics/lm/electric/ae/1579r1.pdf

About the new SmartGrid network: http://www.energyaxis.com/ea-home.asp

Meter Teardown (What's inside): http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Elster+REX2+Smart+Meter+Teardown/5710/1




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