Browse Prior Art Database

Automated Utilities Consumption Monitoring System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000113440D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 88K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Darrow, J: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This disclosure addresses the problem of how to reduce the costs incurred by utilities companies when collecting data from their customers for billing purposes.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Automated Utilities Consumption Monitoring System

      This disclosure addresses the problem of how to reduce the
costs incurred by utilities companies when collecting data from their
customers for billing purposes.

      Traditionally, utility companies hire a large number of meter
readers who travel by foot and/or automobile to the customer's
location to read the meters (electric and/or gas) and record the
meter data.  At the end of the day, this data is submitted to the
branch office where it is entered by hand into the computer system.
After this point, the billing system is automated and the customer
receives his bill by mail.  This process requires much labor and
capital equipment to maintain and is therefore very costly.  Utility
companies spend millions of dollars maintaining teams of meter
readers and keyboard operators to support this billing process.

      A solution to this problem consists of an Automated Utilities
Consumption Monitoring System (AUCMS).  The AUCMS consists of two
separate units (Figure).  The first unit, the Meter Interface Unit
(MIU), consists of the following subsystems:

o   solid State Consumption Meter (SCM)

o   Meter Interface Controller (MIC)

o   Radio Frequency Local Area Network (RF-LAN) interface

      The SCM serves to measure the quantity of product used by the
customer, (whether electric power, natural gas, water or other
measurable product) using a transducer appropriate for the medium and
electronic instrumentation.  The measurement quantity is readable at
any time by the MIC.  The MIC serves to store and manipulate the data
supplied to it by the SCM and to provide the intelligence necessary
to control the communication of applicable data through the RF-LAN
interface.  The MIC may also perform other useful functions at the
point of service, such as to enable or disable the service by
controlling the actuation of local switches or valves.  The RF-LAN
interface allows wireless data communications between the MIU and the
TIU, or from MIU to MIU when necessary.

      The second unit of the AUCMS is the Telephone Network Interface
Unit (TIU), which consists of the following subsystems:

o   RF-LAN interface

o   Local Monitorin...