White Paper: District Metered Areas, Mass Balancing, And Synchronized Midnight ReadsSource: Neptune Technology Group Inc.
It's only by synchronizing meter reads that a true comparison can be made. Without this synchronization, all of the utility's meters would deliver their reads and data at various times throughout a 24-hour cycle. One read would come in at 4:30 a.m. Another at 8:10 a.m. Another at 2:45 p.m. And so on. It's like trying to hit a moving target to get an idea of what's happening across the whole meter population at any given time. But by comparing "apples to apples," so to speak, and reading every meter at midnight, the utility can see the total picture, including each consumer's usage. The only way to compare the consumption of two meters – or groups of meters – is for their consumption to be on the same synchronized time basis. In the case of ARB® FixedBase™, that means midnight.
These synchronized meter reads are possible due to the fully two-way communication that allows meter interface units (MIUs) with transceivers not only to initiate signals back to the collector and then back to the host software, but to receive them as well – this includes daily time synchronization (to ensure time accuracy within the MIU) and remote programming.