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Why you can't see today's meter data
A look inside how your utility gathers smart meter data

Posted by Shane McLaughlin on 11/05/2013 at 7:41 PM

A question we see often is: If smart meters record data every 15 minutes, why can't I see my current data, or even the data from yesterday?

There's actually a lot to the process of getting meter data out to the market. Here's how your utility's smart meter system makes that happen:

Every 15 minutes - Your meter takes its readings every 15 minutes. That data stays in the meter.

Every eight hours - The meter sends its last eight hours of data to utility's meter data management system. This is done to keep the data traffic manageable so that in high-priority events like outages, remote turn-ons, and special request reads can get through.

Once those eight-hour packages come back, they have to be verified. As consumers, we think of the data as something we use to manage our consumption, but it has more uses than that. Electric markets (buying and selling of wholesale power) settle deals off of the market-wide, aggregated meter data, so it has to be correct. And as consumers, we're going to be billed based on this data, so accuracy matters to us, too.
 
You also may not realize that all of this is running over a wireless network. Just like your cell phone, sometimes there can be interference or connection issues. A reading might be missing, or the data didn't come through correctly, or looks weird. In those cases, those meters will be sent a re-read request to make sure everything is correct.  

Each day is 2.2 million meters times 96 readings.

Then all of that data has to be processed and certified for release. Current market rules allow a day for this; finishing up any re-reads and error checking, and posting the data to the system that allows users to access it.

So, if today is November 6,

November 4's data is available (and came into TrueCost early this morning)
November 5's data is still at the utility being processed (and will be available after midnight tonight)
November 6's data is still being collected.

If you're using TrueCost's daily meter data email, the data you received this morning would be November 4. If you're receiving not daily data emails, you can sign up via your My Account page. 

If you create your TrueCost profile today, your usage data would import November 5, 2012 through November 4, 2013 (the most recent day available). Then your data would join our overnight import process.
 

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