Why would you go to the extra expense of adding an electric meter to an electric vehicle charging point? And if you did, why make it a smart meter? The main reason installers in the UK and across the world are doing this is so they know how often the charge point is being used, and how much energy is being charged into the vehicle! This is both useful and interesting data to have. Because it shows whether the charge point is being effectively utilised. It might indicate that additional charge points need to be installed if one is being used constantly. Or it may indicate that its not in the best place if its hardly ever used.
There is a secondary reason for using a smart meter in the charging point, this is to meet the conditions of the Office for Low Emission vehicles grant scheme. To be eligible for the grant to install the charge point, OLEV needs to know when and how much the charge point is being used. For the reasons stated above. However OLEV needs this data in a specific format, or the grant will not be paid to the installer. Specifically, it requires that charging events are listed in a file with the start time, end time and total kwh in the charge.
By using a GPRS smart meter, such as the Emlite EMA1.az single phase meter, its now very simple to get the data sent to OLEV with minimal administration from the installer. Firstly the meter is installed like an ordinary single phase electric meter. The meter has a network roaming SIM card for robust communications link to the meter reading service provider. And then a front-end portal provides the tools for generating the files for OLEV. All the installer then has to do is download and send with the relevant charge point IDs.
How OLEV decide to use this data is anyone’s guess. The main thing to know is that it needs to be submitted every 3 months in the correct format. But with the right technology, this is straightforward and economical to do.
Companies such as DEC Metrics Ltd have developed tools for this job. They offer free tools that generate the OLEV reports, and can provide automatic meter reading services and meters readily. The Openmetrics web portal offers a user-friendly way for retrieving daily meter readings with profile data that can be used for the reports. The meter’s are standalone units with SIM cards and do not require any special tools, only a good GSM signal quality.
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