Pre-Paid Utility Meters – NeoMETER

The beauty of this product is that it puts the landlord in full control. The meter operates on the UniPin platform and the software for this system enables the landlord to not only manage the property more effectively but to also use the reporting capability to troubleshoot and eradicate anomalies in consumption which may point to bypassing of meters.

Electricity and water supply is easily monitored, creating a win-win scenario for both landlord and tenant; the latter can budget effectively and the landlord is no longer exposed to being forced to keep funds in reserve to make good shortfalls caused by tenant default. Even in the face of new legislation which makes landlords responsible for utility payments as supply accounts from City Council/Eskom by law has to be in the landlord’s own name, financial risk is totally eradicated since all utility payments are now made on a prepaid basis, upfront.

More good news is that levies and rental/lease amounts may also be collected by way of this same meter making it the perfect solution for corporate, commercial and residential applications.

A Three Phase Split Prepayment Meter


The Three Phase meter is a four-wire 100 Amp per phase, keypad-based prepayment meter in a compact BS housing. The meter is suitable for residential, commercial and light industrial environments. An optional local keypad and display can be fitted to the meter at the time of manufacture. The meter also features a dedicated diagnostic indicator which shows the status of communication to the remote customer interface unit. The meter boasts a large custom display and also features a host of standard software features including the ability to operate as a prepayment meter or in credit metering mode.

Optical interface
As a standard feature, the Three Phase meter offers an IEC 62056-21 compliant optical communications port. This allows the utility to access a variety of information stored inside the meter and to upload it to a hand-held unit.

Tamper detection
The Three Phase meter is mechanically sealed against tampering through the use of factory sealed plugs and optional sealing wires for the electronic enclosure. In addition the terminal cover can be sealed by standard utility seals.

The Three Phase meter is equipped with a tamper sensor that will automatically disconnect the power to the load in the event of tampering.

Surge protection
The meter has been designed to have a surge voltage withstand that significantly exceeds the requirements of both SABS 1524 and IEC 62052-11.

Remote Customer Interface Unit
The meter has two parts, the prepayment meter and the customer interface unit. The meter is connected to the customer interface unit by a two-core communications wire up to a distance of 130 metres. It operates independently of the customer interface unit and is usually installed in a secure, locked enclosure outside the consumer’s home. The customer interface unit is compact with a user-friendly keypad and display. An optional local keypad and display can be fitted to the meter at the time of manufacture. The meter also features a dedicated diagnostic indicator which shows the status of communication to the customer interface unit.

The meter contains all critical metering, token decryption and load control functionality. It operates independently and is immune to any form of tampering on the Customer Interface Unit.

The meter is usually installed outside the home in a secure, locked enclosure which should not be accessible to the consumer. This facilitates easy inspection by the utility at any time and reduces the opportunity of fraud by tampering.

The customer interface unit is installed inside the consumer’s house in a convenient location. The communications interface can withstand voltage surges of 6kV, however it is recommended that one of the communication lines be earthed at the meter for additional protection.

Three Phase Split Prepayment Meter using PLC Technology

Three phase split prepayment meter using PLC technology, making installation easy and cost-effective

The Three Phase PLC meter is a four-wire 100 Amp per phase, keypad-based prepayment meter in a compact BS housing. The meter is suitable for residential, commercial and light industrial environments.

The meter boasts a large custom display and also features a host of standard software features including the ability to operate as a prepayment meter or in credit metering mode.

Split Metering Functionality

The split prepayment meter consists of two parts, the meter and the customer interface unit. Communication between the meter and the customer interface unit is by means of Power Line Communication (PLC), using existing household wiring. No additional communication wires are required.

The customer interface unit is compact with a user-friendly keypad and display. It may be installed in any convenient location in the consumer’s home where there is an electrical socket outlet. The prepayment meter contains all critical metering, number decryption and load control functionality. It operates independently and is immune to any form of tampering on the customer interface unit.

The meter is usually installed in a secure, locked enclosure, typically a pavement kiosk. It is outside the consumer’s home to facilitate easy inspection by the utility at any time and to reduce the opportunity of fraud by tampering.

Benefits

A key feature of the Three Phase PLC split prepayment meter is the ability to use standard household wiring for communication between the customer interface unit and the prepayment meter. This capability enhances retrofitting or replacement of conventional meters with prepayment meters.

The benefits include lower cost of installation as no new cabling needs to be laid, and speed of installation.

The keypad or customer interface unit is simply plugged into any existing mains outlet and after a simple commissioning procedure, the unit communicates with the remote meter up to a distance of typically 200 metres.

The maximum communication distance is dependent upon network attenuation and interference.

Customer interface

The customer interface is connected by a power cord to an existing mains outlet in the household. Under normal conditions, when there is sufficient credit in the meter, the customer interface unit operates directly from mains voltage. However in the event that the meter credit expires and the meter disconnects power to the house, the customer interface unit is fitted with two standard AA Alkaline batteries to allow the customer to re-enter a new credit voucher.

The customer interface has a large backlit display with configurable functionality. The customer or field technician can access meter parameters by entering specific register information using the keypad.

In addition, the customer interface unit has audible low credit warning tones that can be silenced with a key press.

Meter status and diagnostic indicator

The meter includes a LED status indicator. This allows a technician to view the operational status of the meter without the need for specialised interrogation tools or having to gain access to the consumer’s premises. Information such as tamper status, power limiting, commissioned status and credit status are available.

LCD display on the meter

The standard Three Phase PLC prepayment meter is available with a large clear display to enable field staff to read the meter parameters in a secure kiosk. This meter can be configured at the time of manufacture to show total kilowatt-hours consumed to date as a running total while consumers are able to see the remaining kilowatt-hours or units of electricity remaining on the customer interface unit display in their house. The meter does not have a local keypad.

Optical interface

As a standard feature, the Three Phase PLC meter offers an IEC 62056-21 compliant optical communications port. This allows the utility to access a variety of information stored inside the meter using an optical pick-up.

Tamper detection

The split configuration of Three Phase PLC meters significantly reduces the risk of tampering, especially considering that the meter is installed in a remote, secure location. The meter is also mechanically sealed against tampering through the use of factory-sealed screw plugs on the rear of the meter and utility-sealed wire seals on the front of the meter. The use of these mechanical seals ensures that there are visible signs of tampering if unauthorised entry is attempted.

In addition, the meter is equipped with a tamper sensor that will automatically disconnect the power to the load in the event of tampering.

The meter also has a feature allowing detection of Significant Reverse Energy. If the line and load wires are swapped during installation, the meter will continue to operate and decrement credit but can be factory programmed to tamper and disconnect the load should Significant Reverse Energy be detected.

Another anti-tamper feature comprises an interlocking mechanical design whereby two halves of the meter cannot be opened until the terminal cover of the meter has been removed. To do so, a utility seal has to be broken.

Remote Access

The meter is capable of “upstream” communication to a concentrator at a kiosk, low-voltage distribution transformer or mini sub-station.

This feature enables the Three Phase PLC meter to be remotely accessed by the utility to check the remaining kilowatt-hours, if the meter has been tampered with, total kilowatt-hours used to date, maximum power limit and other useful parameters stored by the prepayment meter.

Communications capability can be implemented in two ways. A concentrator, supplied by Landis+Gyr or a third party, can be fitted into the secure enclosure to provide connectivity via wireless technology to a power utility’s back office. As with all split prepayment meters, the Three Phase PLC has an optical communications port and each meter in the enclosure is connected to the concentrator via an optical port reading device.

By means of the concentrator and the optical communication port, bi-directional communication is possible. A message can be sent to each meter to request information, and prepayment vouchers purchased by a specific consumer or generated for maintenance purposes, can be sent in a virtual payment process.

Prepayment / Credit feature

Using supplier-specific 20-digit STS prepayment vouchers which are unique to each meter, the Three Phase PLC prepayment meter can be converted into a standard credit meter, while retaining some of the useful features of a prepayment meter.

These include the anti-tamper facility, maximum power limit and remote customer interface unit for customer convenience.

The meter can be switched between credit mode and prepayment mode when necessary, using a 20-digit STS prepayment voucher generated by Landis+Gyr’s Suprima prepayment system.

Surge protection

The meter has been designed to have a surge voltage withstand that significantly exceeds the requirements of both SABS 1524 and IEC 62052-11.