I have organized an electrical contractor company to install electrical meters in my premises, and I want to be sure that all is in order for when they come to avoid problems. What should we check or prepare before they come over? I have asked them but they were not really helpful.
1. Get your labels right
Electrical installations are generally the result of original installations combined with a number of changes and upgrades made over the years to accommodate site expansion or new business requirements. Subsequently, electrical wiring is very often poorly documented.
Labeling associates electrical circuits and electrical loads fed from such circuits. For example, a circuit may be labeled ‘Compressor 1’ or ‘MCCB 1’, which is self-contained and clear, but a circuit may also be labeled ‘Kitchen’ or ‘West wing G.S.’, for which the association is unclear (does this circuit feed everything in the kitchen including ventilation, light, sockets etc?).
Inconsistent labeling should be identified and fixed prior to installation, to avoid installation to be lengthened or postponed and to prevent measurements to be misleading.
Make sure that the circuits you want monitored are correctly labeled
2. Organise your meter supply
Most 3-phase electrical meters will be fed from a Type C 6AMP 3P MCB, possibly wired behind a 3P isolator, to supply the meter with power and voltage references. Neutral and Ground lines are generally needed depending on the electrical system (Wye/Delta).
Please note that the MCB must be fed from the same transformer as the circuits that will be monitored by the meter. This is to ensure that the correct voltage reference is used with the current measurements.
Install breakers to supply your meters
It is important to get the MCB wired before installation date as its wiring may require the distribution board to be shut down for a few minutes.
3. Deploy and test your Internet points
Unless GPRS/3G routers are used, network points (cat5, cat5e, cat6) must be provided at the location where meters will be deployed. These network points must provide Internet access when plugged to the meters or to a data concentrator.
Very often network points end up being deployed on the installation date, in parallel to the meter installation. While it is usually fast to pull cat5 cables from the closest server room or network patch panel back to the meter room, it may happen that some unexpected delays occur due to unavailability of the IT staff or complex firewall configuration. It is therefore recommended that the network points are deployed prior to the installation to avoid any delay on installation date, and to signal any specific network configuration requirements (static IP address, MAC address registration, ports to be opened for outward data communication, etc) that may require specific meter or data concentrator configuration on the day.
If possible, ask for a network point with DHCP enabled, meaning that the meter or data concentrator will automatically setup Internet access by obtaining its local IP address and associated network information through the service called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).
For sites where DHCP cannot be enabled and where network settings must be manually set for each metering device, ask the IT department or IT contractor to provide the following information before the installation date, so that you can set up your metering equipment and get started without delay:
LAN Subnet mask
LAN default gateway IP address
Static IP address for each meter and data concentrator