ANSI C12.1-2014 – Code for Electricity Metering

Electric meter covered by ANSI C12.1-2014
ANSI C12.1-2014 – Electric Meters – Code for Electricity Metering is the latest revision (released in 2016, not 2014) of the standard specifying acceptable performance criteria for new types of ac watt-hour meters, demand meters, demand registers, pulse devices, and auxiliary devices.

The total electricity installed capacity on our planet is currently at about 6 billion kilowatts, and the electrical power industry, in the United States alone, grows by $300 million every year. More importantly, electrical power and access to electricity is so essential to our lives that it has become a necessity comparable to food and water. As we exist now technologically in a digital and cloud based world, we need to be able to properly measure and control the flow of electricity that is used in all buildings, whether they be businesses or homes.

In addition to providing specifications for the performance criteria of different electricity meters and their compliance with government standards, ANSI C12.1-2014 covers guidelines on the testing and installation of the meters. These address a variety of issues that will likely naturally be presented to the meters throughout their life usage, such as the effect of radio frequency interference. This gives utilities, manufacturers, and even legislative bodies the ability to secure the usage of meters over time.

The primary changes to this standard focus on updating the past guidelines on testing equipment to match that currently found in homes around the country. According to Gordon Belcher of Eversource Energy, chair of the ANSI C12.1 Subcommittee on Electricity Metering, “the changes incorporated into ANSI C12.1 better reflect current operational and equipment trends within the utility industry as a whole.”

While this latest update of the standard for the code for electricity metering does not directly confront the issue of the Internet of Things (IoT), it will be interesting to see what impact it will have on future revisions. Millions of smart meters, which send wireless radio signals to the utility company that owns them to bill their customers, have already been installed. While these are meant to enhance the performance of the meter and save energy, some people have become concerned over the invasion of privacy that is posed by giving away data when they use electricity. Additionally, people are concerned with the potential health problems coming from smart meter radio waves. Some protesters even allege that smart meters burn more energy. However, experts acknowledge that the radio raves emitted by smart meters are actually less than those from cell phones, which do not cause adverse health effects.

Smart electric meter covered by ANSI C12.1-2014
Smart Meters can detect when users are using electricity and send that data to the utility.

Currently, the infrastructure for a smart meter type system is covered by ANSI C12.22-2012 – Protocol Specification For Interfacing to Data Communication Networks, which defines network Application Services for the exchange of data between the utility and the smart meter.
Other guidelines for electricity meters include:

ANSI C12.19-2012 – American National Standard for Utility Industry End Device Data Tables

ANSI C12.10:2011 – Physical Aspects of Watthour Meters – Safety Standard

ANSI C12.7-2014 – Requirements for Watthour Meter Sockets

ANSI C12.9-2014 – Test Switches and Plugs for Transformer-Rated Meters

ANSI C12.5-1978 (R2012) – Thermal Demand Meters

ANSI C12.1 and the other meter standards are also available as part of the ANSI C12 Smart Grid Meter Package.

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