Guide to AMR Meters
AMR meters are advanced energy meters that enable the meter to record detailed energy consumption data and communicate that data to the energy supplier. They are used for business electricity and gas customers.
What is an AMR Meter?
AMR means Automated Meter Reading or sometimes Advanced Meter Reading. These AMR meters are more advanced energy meters that are capable of measuring and storing energy usage for multiple time periods.
There are three types of AMRs:
- Advanced meter – contains a remote reading device
- Data logger – provides remote reading equipment on larger sites
- Gas embedded meter – contains a remote reading device
Less advanced AMRs require the data to be collected by a portable collection device that is either used next to or within the vicinity of the meters located.
More advanced AMRs can now send meter consumption data and readings via GSM/GPRS communications used by the mobile phone network automatically to the energy suppliers. This energy usage data is then used to create bills and manage energy demand.
Data from the AMR meters are commonly sent daily to the energy suppliers. The energy customer may also be able to see half-hourly data through a web application or data can be sent for customers to use on their energy management software.
The way that data is shared and presented may vary by energy supplier depending on the systems and software they have as part of their Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
Who Can Have an AMR Meter?
AMR meters are available to all businesses but are most suited to larger businesses who either may benefit from having an AMR meter or are obligated to have one.
Smaller businesses can currently have an AMR meter installed but from 21 May 2018 only smart meters will be able to be installed in these smaller businesses.
What Are the Benefits of AMR Meters?
There are many benefits for both the customer and energy supply for having AMR meters installed, this includes:
- Accurate billing based on actual meter readings
- Allows better forecasting of energy use for budgeting purposes
- More tariff flexibility as energy suppliers can offer time-sensitive tariffs that maximise energy use during lower demand periods
- Better energy management
- Opportunity to maximise energy efficiency through a better understanding of energy use
- Ability to reduce carbon emissions and help environmental credentials
How Do AMR Meters Differ from Smart Meters?
AMRs and smart meters are similar, but they operate differently using different technologies. Smart meters are only being installed in domestic and small businesses.
These meters will communicate through a centralised data communication network which will then send the data to the relevant energy supplier, they also have a small digital display device in the home. Smart meters are being rolled out to all homes and small businesses by 2020, for more information visit our guide to smart meters.
AMR meters record and transmit data through Data Controllers. The AMR meter and the transmission network for the data come at a cost to the business whereas smart meters are free-of-charge.
Depending on the provider of the AMR meter to what data and software you will have access to but this tends to be more detailed than the information available from smart meters.
Is There a Charge for AMR Meters?
AMR meters are often leased or rented to the property as part of their energy bill, but businesses can select their own AMR meter provider, and have it installed themselves with the agreement of their energy supplier.
The cost of the lease or rental replaces some of the costs of the previous metering equipment, so the charges will increase slightly, but you should consult your energy supplier and AMR provider for more information on their charges.
The charges for the installation of AMR meters can vary depending on the energy supplier, AMR provider, and your property. It is best to consult your energy supplier or an AMR provider for the costs which may require a site inspection.
Can I Change Suppliers If I Have an AMR Meter?
AMR meters are most commonly leased or rented for 10 years and the charge will continue regardless of which energy supplier you get your energy from. So, having an AMR meter will not prevent you from switching energy suppliers.