AMR / AMI Solution
Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) Systems are
  • One way communication systems for automatically sending consumption, status and diagnostic data from metering devices such as electricity, gas or water meters using digital communication technologies.
  • AMR Systems allow one way communication between electric / gas / water meters and the utility providers.
  • This means that meter data is sent to the central data center of the utility via a meter reading device but the personnel at the data center of the utility cannot send any Commands to the remote meters for controlling or managing them.
    For e.g. Configuration of remote meters cannot be changed, Remote meters cannot be connected/disconnected.
  • Meter data is sent periodically (not that frequently) from the remote meters to the utility?s data center.
  • The data is sent to a central system for Analysis, Billing and Troubleshooting purposes.
  • Although being one way Systems, AMR Systems have eliminated the need for the utility personnel to travel to remote meter locations physically to read the meter values for billing purposes thus removing possibility of erroneous meter readings due to human errors.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Systems are
  • Two way communication systems for automatically collecting (via real time on request or periodic polling) consumption, status and diagnostic data from metering devices such as electricity, gas or water meters using digital communication technologies.
  • They allow for two way communication between electric / gas / water meters and the utility providers.
  • They consist of smart meters (at remote site) for storing energy usage data, communication devices (at remote site) for reading and sending meter data back to the utility?s data center, head end systems (at utility?s data center) for receiving meter data, meter data management application (at utility?s data center) for processing / storing /analyzing received meter data, billing application for billing utility?s customers and web portal for providing real time energy usage information to utility?s customers.
  • AMI System is a new system compared to AMR System.
  • AMI is not a single technology implementation, but rather a fully configured infrastructure that must be integrated into existing and new processes and applications of utility provider.
  • With AMI System billing can now be achieved based on real time consumption as compared to estimates based on past or forecasted consumption. Such timely real time information coupled with business intelligence and smart analysis can assist both utility providers and consumers have better control on the production/distribution and usage of electricity, gas or water.
In the past meters were electromechanical devices having poor accuracy and lack of configurability. Also Theft Detection was impossible and was a big challenge. But with the advancement of meter hardware (solid state), meter reading and meter data management technologies the following features can be achieved and realized today using AMI System when compared to older conventional metering system.
Sr. No.FeaturesAMI SystemConventional Metering System
1Higher Speed of meter data transfer
2Improved Load Profile
3Accurate Billing based on Real Time Usage/Consumption and Time of Use
4Automatic Invoicing
5Improved Load Management and Distribution Planning
6Improved Demand Response
7Improved Tamper Detection and Alarm Warning/Notifications
8Real Time Status Reading and Monitoring
9Real Time Remote Connect / Disconnect
10Remote Meter Configuration changes and Firmware Upgrades Over the Air
11Power Outage Notifications
12Improved Demand Forecasting and Planning


Improved Energy Audit
14Improved Performance and Availability Monitoring
15Accurate Analysis, Prediction, Reporting and Decision Making using Business Intelligence Systems
                  Provided below is the Conceptual Diagram of AMI System
As shown above the important components of an AMI System are as mentioned below:
  • Application Server which reads data in either real time or on scheduled poll basis from remote smart meters
  • Database Server for storing the data polled from remote smart meters
  • Front End Server for adding and managing connections to millions of meters
  • GIS Server for Meter Location tracking of remote smart meters on geographical map
  • Network Monitoring Server for monitoring Availability of remote meters
  • Communication Server for sending SMS Alerts to utility personnel
  • Customer Billing Server for managing customer?s billing data and customer invoicing
  • Customer?s Information Server for managing customer account, service point, meter configuration etc?
  • Radius Server for managing authentication of the 3G/4G SIM Cards present in the remote smart meters
  • Customer web portal for providing real time energy consumption usage statistics to the utility customers
The Application, Database and Front End Servers are part of the Meter Data Management System (MDMS) as shown below. Shown below is the exchange of different types of data between the MDMS and the remote smart meters.
AMI Systems use smart meters in which the following advance functionality is available within the meters:
  • Net metering which is the ability to measure the energy used by the consumer as well as measure energy delivered by the consumer back to the utility provider.
  • Remote Connect / Disconnect which is the ability to shut off and re-establish service to the consumer.
  • Two way communications i.e. ability to both read the meters as well as send information back to the meters including programming updates.
  • Microprocessor based control which controls the operation of the meters and its communication.
  • Time Stamp of Usage whereby the utility provider personnel can know the actual time when the meter was read.
  • The ability to support Time of Use (TOU) whereby different Tariff Rates could be applied for energy consumption at different times periods of the day.
Three technologies are very popularly used today for AMI Systems:
Power Line Communication / Power Line Carrier (PLC) ? In this technology data is transmitted through the normal power lines carrying AC. It allows for bi-directional communication between the smart meter and a concentrator which is usually located in a transformer. Last evolutions include the OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) technology (IEEE P1901.2) which make the signal more robust and reduce the amount of concentrators required i.e. the signal can go through the transformer.

Radio Frequency Mesh (RF Mesh) ? This technology is based on the unlicensed RF spectrum using a mesh topology. In this technology smart meters act as transceiver/receivers and thereby communicate with each other. Data is collected by Data Concentrator Units (DCUs). RF mesh technology provides better bandwidth when compared to PLC and is also economically more competitive as compared to PLC.

3G/4G Cellular
? 3G (WCDMA, HSPA, HSPA+) technologies or 4G (LTE) technologies are high speed data transfer technologies. These technologies are preferable where the use of PLC or RF is highly difficult or impossible to implement. These technologies allow quick service activation with very low investment cost and offer high performance.

PP Ontime is gearing up currently to provide solutions based on AMR / AMI Systems to utility providers such as PEA and MEA in the near future.

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