How the old and new smart kilowatt-hour meters work

Old kWh meters are being replaced by digital smart kWh meters.

A kilowatt-hour meter or kWh meter is a device which is installed in domestic meter cupboards and measures electricity consumption. The old Bakelite meters with the rotating disc are the most familiar type. The faster the disc went round, the higher your consumption. It was fun for children to watch the disc spinning round when the coffee-maker or iron was switched on. Our specialist Bert Bleiksloot explains how these old meters work and why more and more of them are being replaced by smart digital meters.

Old KWH meters: smart mechanism of magnets and coils

A smart mechanism of magnets and coils (copper windings) in the old-fashioned meter forms a miniature electric motor. This drives the familiar disc which drives the ultimate counter.

The more energy passes through the meter, the faster the disc will go round and the meter will run. The old analogue meters are being replaced by digital – often smart – meters. Rather than a mechanism, these contain smart electronics which are also more accurate.

Smart meters make energy consumption more transparent

These smart meters can be read remotely. This makes incorrect meter readings a thing of the past. The user now also has a better insight into his own energy consumption as he can view 2-monthly meter readings via the energy supplier’s website, for example.

This also makes it easier to estimate what your final bill is likely to be. It also makes things easier if you are moving house since the final meter reading can be read remotely so that there is no need for you to submit it yourself. In the utility and leisure market, meters can be connected to monitoring and reading systems for managing and processing consumption data.

Illegal tapping of power detected quickly

Because the energy company now has a better and faster insight into energy consumption within certain districts or streets, illegal tapping can be detected more quickly. For the total consumption read via the meters in all the homes in part of a district should be equal to the total amount of energy supplied via the district cabinet.

Want to find out more?

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Bert Bleiksloot

Bert Bleiksloot

Product Manager Energy

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