A Dash For Data...The argument for monitoring local pulsed output data from energy meters

Energy customers are being denied live data which could help them plan their usage more effectively and make significant energy cost savings according to meter expert Martin Wardell, managing director of MWA Technology in Birmingham.

Martin Wardell, managing director of MWA Technology

Live data on energy consumption should be displayed where the customer needs it rather than the current practice of data collection by a centrally appointed organisation which subsequently sells the information to those who operate the meters or data collectors," explains Wardell.

"This information should be free to the customers buying the energy and is so easily achievable by providing an additional local pulsed output on the meter which can then deliver data directly to a customer's computer.

"I have been lobbying for a while now on behalf of energy users, it seems unfair and ludicrous that data which is sent to a third party who then charges customers to obtain data that could so easily be available instantly and directly to them.

"What's more, the data that the poor old customer has to pay for is most likely going to be out of date when it arrives. A local pulsed output in real time enables a customer to make rapid decisions that could save energy and money.

"In this new 'smart metering' roll-out, no one it seems is thinking about the customer's best interests," contends Wardell.

Mr Wardell's message seems to be gaining momentum from a series of presentations he has given, including a recent talk at the Utilities Intermediaries Association.

Peter Thompson, formerly meter policy manager at British Gas/Transco and now a member of the Gas Customer Forum consortia of SME and I&C Customer Representatives that meets quarterly with National Grid to discuss changes and issues which impact on customers and the energy industry, said: "Martin raises a very important point.

"The customer should always have live access to his/her energy usage information. The provision - by all those who install automatic or advanced meter reading (AMR) equipment - of a spare pulse output to allow this to happen, would be the way forward.

"We are looking to Ofgem and DECC, who are about to declare on the 'Smart' metering programme, to include this as a customer protection measure particularly for the SME and I&C end of the market. Ofgem has always considered this end of the market to be able to look after itself but it has been shown that this is not always the case," said Mr Thompson.

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