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METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR MONITORING A FLOW OF POWER TO A METERING DEVICE

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000031429D
Publication Date: 2004-Sep-24

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method and system of monitoring a power outage of an endpoint device that does not have a backup power supply. The endpoint device comprises a meter, a power-line detector and a radio frequency interface module and is capable of monitoring a power-line, or any other source directly derived from the power-line, to determine when the endpoint device has lost line power. After a loss of line power the endpoint device transmits an outage signal or message to a reader using energy stored in a capacitor (or similar electronic element) therein. The reader then relays the outage message to a server having a software program that displays the outage message to the utility company.

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METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR MONITORING A FLOW OF POWER TO A METERING DEVICE

Christopher Osterloh, Neil R. Hovelsrud, Timothy J. Roe ITRON, Inc., Waseca, MN

Abstract

    A method and system of monitoring a power outage of an endpoint device that does not have a backup power supply. The endpoint device comprises a meter, a power-line detector and a radio frequency interface module and is capable of monitoring a power-line, or any other source directly derived from the power-line, to determine when the endpoint device has lost line power. After a loss of line power the endpoint device transmits an outage signal or message to a reader using energy stored in a capacitor (or similar electronic element) therein. The reader then relays the outage message to a server having a software program that displays the outage message to the utility company.

Field of the Invention

    The invention relates to a method and system for monitoring a flow of power to a metering device. More particularly, the invention relates to a method and system of detecting and reporting an absence of power flowing to a utility metering device or meter due to a power outage.

Background of the Invention

    For years, utility companies have used meters to measure the amount of energy a customer uses in a pre-determined amount of time. In order to determine the amount of energy a customer used, the utility companies had to either send a utility employee to log each meter reading or the utility company had to estimate the amount of usage for a customer. Considerable time and resources were spent in reading meters. Relatively recently, utility companies have attached radio frequency (RF) transmitters to their meters to enable remote or mobile reading of the meters. One method of forming automatic meter reading (AMR) systems is to use these RF transmitters to transmit the meter reading from the meter to a mobile reader upon demand or a

Ó copyright 2004 Itron, Inc.

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fixed receiver at pre-programmed intervals. A thorough discussion of how AMRs function is discussed in detail in U. S. Patent Nos. 5,056,107 and 6,219,655.

    Although the above devices solved the problem of having to send a utility employee to read each meter there was still a problem of determining when an endpoint or meter was without power. Traditionally, the utility company was unable to determine when there was a power outage unless a utility employee observed the outage or they received phone calls from customers informing them of the outage. Devices have been developed that would permit a meter to transmit outage information to the utility company through telephone lines or wireless networks. However, since the meter needed power to transmit the outage information they needed to have a large, bulky and expensive backup power supply, such as a battery, to facilitate the transmission of the outage information. The backup power supply added weight and cost to the meter and also required monitoring and replacement...