In my previous post I outlined some ways that being proactive with your advanced metering system can really help you out. So what exactly are you supposed to look at every day? Here are my top 3 suggestions:
One of the largest shifts in the last few years is Advanced Metering systems are vastly complex infrastructure systems, and no longer just meters and physical collection devices. With the goal of getting as many reads into the system as possible, verifying that the network infrastructure is functioning as expected is a mandatory step. If one of your collection devices goes down, you need to know immediately as part of your system may be unreachable and reads could be lost. Likewise, if the software of the head end system isn’t working like it should, it could impact reads being processed and making it into other systems like a Meter Data or Outage Management system.
Check daily asking is it functioning properly?
– Collectors and/or Repeaters
– Head End System
– Customer Portals
– Other systems
As I said in my proactive post, with an Advanced Metering system you can check for reads that are missing every day and I would recommend you do so. Nearly every system has a period of backfill (backfill meaning the meter will resend data that wasn’t received by the system when it was transmitted due to coverage issues, etc.). Due to that backfill, I recommend looking into meters that have been missing reads for 3 days or more. This will drastically reduce you chasing your tail on meters that are just 1-2 days latent that will backfill eventually anyway. I prefer to check for this in my MDM versus my Head End System, because I can populate the list of “expected’ meters from my billing system (where I need the reads to end up anyway).
– Meters missing reads for 3+ days
What’s Important to You
This last section isn’t a cop-out, I promise!! Network Performance and Missing Reads are two things that to me are non-negotiable. Outside of that, there are tons of things that can be verified on a regular basis as data comes in, but it really depends on the focus of your utility. Are you working to conserve water? Check on your leak and high usage alarms daily. Do you have a high rate of meter vandalism in your community? Check for tamper and non-usage alerts. There is a gamut of data available in these Advanced Metering systems, but too much data can become just that – plain old data. You can run all the reports in the system, but if you don’t have the time to investigate the issues it is pretty worthless. Choose the things that will have the most impact and start running with those. Then you can add as you go along.
These are my suggestions on what to check in your system daily to keep it running optimally. What do you check on a regular basis? How has it impacted your utility or system performance?