1. The metering equipment.
What to look for when selecting MID approved Heating, Cooling and Electricity meters.
All the specifications I have read over the years require that each dwelling must be individually submetered. Having this facility is great for the tenants as they can be in control of their utility consumption and equally good for the landlord when it comes to utility billing.
So what makes the difference between having a metering solution that just meets the spec and having a great metering strategy in place? Here are my top two recommendations to any solution designer to look for, therese are all tried and tested:
- If MID approval is needed for the electricity meters then I would encourage you to look for those meters that have the MID approval when used to monitor one 3 Phase circuit but also when used to monitor three x 1Phase circuits. This gives maximum flexibility to distribute the meters around the building. Did you think all MID electricity meters have this? Well not really, just have another look and you will see that most electricity meters are MID certified only when used to monitor 3 Phase circuits. When I looked deeper into this I discovered that there are not many manufacturers out there that offer this and I was very surprised to discover that the most cost effective ones were also the ones to have this feature. After a long period of searching and trialling many different meters here is the one that we found to be the best MID Approved 3Ph & 1Ph Modbus DIN rail meter.
- In regards the MID approval for heating and cooling meters I have come across a requirement that is only apparent once the meters have been in service for several years: 'How one can check if the meter calibration is still valid and should the meters be re-calibrated periodically?' Tenants have every right to question the metering equipment that is used for their billing and so what should building owners respond to this? After I have spent many weeks talking to the National Measurement & Regulation Office turns out there is no requirement to have a heat meter re-calibrated under the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014. However Regulation 5 states: Where a meter to which these regulations apply is installed it must accurately measure, memorise and display the consumption of heating, cooling or hot water by a final customer. And also, Regulation 8 states: Where meters or heat cost allocators to which these Regulations apply are installed the heat supplier must so far as possible ensure those meters and heat cost allocators are — (a) continuously operating, and (b) properly maintained and periodically checked for errors. The best course of actions for landlords when challenged to re-calibrate the meters is to simply check if the meters are still operational, a visual inspection is necessary but also the ability to interrogate the meter using some form of communication protocol so that at least the meter internal measured temperatures can be compared against the pipe temperatures can be recorded and compared. Each manufacturer is very reluctant to give away their tools of checking the meters so after a very long search we found that the best way to interrogate the meters is using an M-bus to Modbus converter that would give any BMS engineer the ability to check the internal meter readings, here is the best tool we have found for this: MBUS TO MODBUS RTU RS485 CONVERTER