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Every now and then take a step back and ask yourself. “Has the problem I am trying to solve already been solved by someone else?”.  People, especially those that consider themselves experts in a field, have a tendency to develop a solution to a problem as opposed to seeing if someone else has already solved it.

Over the last few years I have been involved in countless debates about what a smart meter is and isn’t. Is there such a thing as a basic and advanced smart meter? If there is such a thing as a basic smart meter, then how does it differ from the traditional automated meter reading (AMR) technology? What is a smart ready meter? Etc.

A few months ago I returned to Australia.  I have been getting re-acquainted with the market here and so I have immersed myself in understanding the Power of Choice rule changes that are set to transform the Australian electricity market once again.   Time and again the papers I read or the people I talk to make reference to a meter type.  There is no mention of electromechanical meters, smart meters, smart ready meters, etc.  Each meter type has a market definition that everyone works too.  I am not suggesting the definitions are perfect, but the simplicity of the idea is what I like.

As with most things in life, failure is usually a result of ineffective communication amongst relevant stakeholders. Meter definitions, for some strange reason, appear to create strong debate amongst industry experts and consensus is rarely reached.  Meter types remove the need to even have a debate.  A meter with X characteristics is a type Y.

Whilst I hate to think of the countless hours I have spent debating naming conventions and definitions, it has been a great lesson in the importance of taking a step back and asking yourself if this problem has already been solved by someone else, somewhere in the world.