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Last week was our first full week of 2016 and it was a great start to the new year.

One huge positive we’re experiencing is the knowledge that those developing and operating heat networks, or district heating, are gaining about choosing the right metering and consumer charging solution.OMS-Group_Logo

This includes not only the meter and data collection system but also how this translates into the right consumer charging solution. Heat network operators are increasingly looking for a solution that works now and is adaptable to their future requirements.

Already there is a growing knowledge that choosing an ultrasonic, MID Class 2 heat meter is a robust and technically sound choice. A great example is the ZENNER C5.

Alongside this, having a meter output and data collection system that utilises MBus means that the data is not locked to any supplier but instead the system is ‘open-protocol’. MBus is also available in both hardwired and wireless versions, making it flexible to any development.

One important thing to remember is that you should check that any MBus meter and data collection system confirms to the Open Metering System (OMS) standard. This is based on the European Standard EN13757 and means that any MBus OMS meter or data collection solution you purchase will talk the same language.

Final point on MBus- If you are going hardwired and installing MBus cabling, please don’t daisy chain! It causes so many issues during long term operation, instead have a Bus network topology so that any cable breaks are easy to locate and don’t have a large scale impact on receiving data.

The final decision that needs to be made is to select the right consumer charging solution. There are essentially two options; a standard billing arrangement or heat prepayment. The heat prepayment arrangement requires additional hardware i.e. a heat prepayment unit and prepayment value (to disconnect supply).

You can choose to insource or outsource your standard billing arrangements very easily, and integrate any solution into your existing IT systems such as housing management or financial systems. Sycous are experts on integrating these solutions.

When it comes to prepayment, your prepayment unit will be ‘closed-protocol’ and locked to one manufacturer or supplier. Historically this led to low levels of service and high costs.

However, there are now a growing number of prepayment solutions that can be insourced, as well as outsourced to multiple suppliers. Before committing to a prepayment solution, check that it would allow you to operate yourself, as well as having a number of cost-effective service providers to allow for simple outsourcing.

At Sycous we believe in making sure the solution is right and future-proofed for the heat network operator and the consumers. If you would like to find out more, or discuss options that are available to you, please Contact Us.