A radiofrequency (RF) meter is an electronic meter that can be read from a distance, either by a meter reader carrying a handheld computer or by a communications network such as the one Hydro-Québec is currently setting up. The RF technology used in the meters is not new and is widely used in other devices, such as baby monitors and cordless phones. Hydro-Québec has three main types of radiofrequency meters:
1. 458 MHz — This meter transmits only when the meter reader is nearby. The meter reader’s handheld computer sends a signal to wake up the meter, and the meter responds by sending its consumption data.
NB There are very few meters of this type left in Hydro-Québec’s fleet, and they haven’t been manufactured for many years now.
2. 900 MHz — This meter transmits periodically, whether or not there is a meter reader nearby. When close to the meter, the meter reader collects data using a handheld computer. Back at the office, the meter reader transmits the data to Hydro-Québec’s billing system.
3. Next-generation — This meter registers electricity consumption and enables Hydro-Québec to read the data remotely without the need for a meter reader. It emits RF energy intermittently several times a day, for a few milliseconds each time, totaling less than 90 seconds a day. Next-generation meters are the new industry standard.
Hydro-Québec will be able to read electricity-use data from next-generation meters remotely. Eventually, other remote applications like remote disconnection and connection when customers move will be possible with the new advanced metering infrastructure.
425 mW (milliwatts), or 0.425 W, which is equivalent to that of an LED holiday bulb.
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