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Technologies behind AMR-based meters

AMR Meters

Source:https://www.xenius.in/technologies-behind-amr-based-meters/

AMR systems, meant to obtain energy-consumption data from the user’s end to the supplier, are run on various technologies. Though all these technologies have hosts of features, they also contain carry many drawbacks. Xenius meters, on the other hand, are IOT/M2M-based AMRs which provide the consumers with a whole lot of rich features.


Automatic meter reading (AMR) is a system used to gather data from energy metering devices, transferring it to a supply central station and processing it for billing. These devices create a direct communication channel between the consumer and the supplier. Consumption data can be sent from the user meter directly to the supplier without any manual intervention. The system ensures accurate billing and also provides for monitoring and analysing the usage of electricity.

AMR systems can obtain energy consumption data on an hourly, monthly, yearly, or even near real-time, basis, depending on how these are programmed. These can be implemented with various technologies, like GSM, ZigBee, PLC, D-SCADA, WiMAX, Hybrid or a combination of some and also with IOT/M2M, which is what Xenius solution is based on.

  • Consumption data can be sent from the user meter directly to the supplier without any manual intervention. The system ensures accurate billing and provides for monitoring and analysing electricity usage.
  • The GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)-based AMR network provides a global coverage across countries without the need to implement a new communication infrastructure.
  • PLC (or Power Line Communication)-based AMR uses existing power cables as a communication medium. This allows both, controlling the devices remotely and also retrieving data from these.

The GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)-based AMR network provides a global coverage across countries without the need to implement a new communication infrastructure. It is low-cost and simple setup with a wide operating distance and minimum human intervention that alerts the users about anomalies via its SMS feature.

Zigbee-based AMR requires a digital power meter to be installed in every consumer unit and an electricity e-billing system at the energy provider’s end. Although ZigBee devices are cheap, easy-to-operate and consume less energy, these are extremely limited in resources, including processing, memory and power.

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SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system-based AMR is a control system architecture which includes collection of information via RTU (remote terminal unit), PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and IEDs (intelligent electronic devices), transferring it back to the central site and analysing and controlling the displayed information on the operator screens. The main drawback of using SCADA devices is that these are prone to network attacks.

PLC (or Power Line Communication)-based AMR uses existing power cables as a communication medium. This allows both, controlling the devices remotely and also retrieving data from these. However, there are two major factors that make the system unstable – electric network signal attenuation and random interference.

A mixed-type system automates the meter-reading process by capturing the images of the energy meter and transferring these to the customers by using ZigBee technology. This system consumes less power but has a short range and low data speed.

IOT/M2M-based AMRs used in Xenius meters consist of smart meters, Xenius adaptor, Xenius gateway, and Xenia backend platform. All devices and data communicate on the RF network and subsequently communicate to the backend platform on a secure GPRS private APN. At any given time, all the data is transparently available to all stakeholders. Users can monitor their electric consumption, set notifications, pay online and check daily updates via an app.

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