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The most important information about the meter cabinet: This is what you should bear in mind when buying, arranging and installing it

Safety and order thanks to the meter cabinet

What is the actual benefit of a meter cabinet? Electronic meters must function smoothly and be housed safely. Meter cabinets are therefore needed for responsible handling of electrical installations. They ensure that the meter is stable and that there is no interference with the measuring function. They also protect the sensitive mechanics of these highly technical devices from moisture, dirt and heat. What needs to be taken into account when purchasing and installing a meter cabinet depends on the legal requirements, the use and the elements housed in it. Here you can find out everything you need to know.

Modern metering equipment, intelligent metering systems and meter design

Modern metering equipment (mME) and intelligent metering systems (iMSys) are already being installed. By 2032, all consumers are to be equipped with modern measuring devices. Analog meters such as the classic Ferraris meters should then have been completely replaced. Modern metering equipment and intelligent metering systems are digital meters that can either store measured values for 2 years (mME) or retrieve or transmit measured values every 15 minutes by adding a communication unit (iMSys). The latter are generally only installed for consumers with an annual electricity consumption of over 6000 kWh. Technically, a distinction is made between two different meter designs:

  • eHZ system technology (electronic household meters).
  • 3-point meter

How is a meter cabinet constructed?

Not only is the nature and construction regulated by regulations and standards, there is also a lot you should know about the arrangement of meter cabinets. We explain the basic elements below.

Size specifications for the meter cabinet

The dimensions of a meter cabinet are precisely defined by law. According to DIN VDE 4101:2015-09, the cabinet must be equipped for the future-proof use of smart metering systems. This is important to ensure the success of the energy transition. In practice, this means that the upper connection space must have a height of 300 mm (DIN 43870). Meter cabinets are available in sizes of 1100 mm and 1400 mm. Units with dimensions of 950 mm and 1250 mm are no longer permitted under current regulations.

Is a termination point meter location (APZ) required?

The application rule VDE-AR-N 4101 provides for a termination point meter location (APZ) if a termination point line technology (APL) is planned or available as a connection to a telecommunications network. The APZ acts as an interface between the APL and the meter cabinet and transmits data to the telecommunications network via a router. (If a “terminating point line network” (APL) exists or is planned, a “terminating point meter room” (APZ) must be installed as an interface between the APL and the meter room. The APZ room can simply be installed inside the distribution panel or the multimedia panel, adjacent to either the bottom or top edge of the enclosure. Installation of the APZ room outside the meter cabinet is not permitted. The APZ must be at least 300 mm high and separately sealable. A network cable (min. Cat 5) must be provided for data transmission between the meter locations and APZ area.

What belongs in a meter cabinet?

Modern meter cabinets ensure energy transparency and the safe accommodation of a wide variety of elements. The electricity meter is one of these components, which are installed in meter cabinets in private households or companies to record the energy consumed. Transformer meters in meter cabinets are often used as energy meters, especially in industry, to measure higher energy consumption. Meanwhile, intelligent meters transmit the data directly to the energy supplier. In this way, the efficiency of the resources is directly checked and controlled. A VDE-approved meter space of 250 mm width must be provided for the meter. Each apartment needs at least one such meter place – the distribution network operator often requires separate, additional meters for electric heaters and heat pumps, or offers discounted rates for them. Note: In apartment buildings, an additional meter space is often required for general consumption. A meter panel includes a meter support plate (450 mm high), a network side connection space (NAR) (300 mm high) and a system side connection space (300 mm high). The mains-side connection compartment (NAR) is located below the meter area. The main supply line is connected there. It can be fed in from the side, from below, from behind or through a side-connected feeder housing. The busbar system to accommodate N, L1, L2, L3 and PE must have 5 poles. In addition, only lockable cover strips are permitted. The connection area on the system side (AAR) is located above the meter area. This area may not be used for distribution of circuits in general. Equipment such as main line branch terminals, main switches or fuses for the connection or protection of outgoing lines to distributions and FI, LS switches as well as combined devices (FI/LS) for the protection of max. 3 AC circuits with a corresponding fuse protection with max. 16 A/ 10 kA may be provided. Furthermore, overvoltage protection devices can also be used, however, it is recommended to set the corresponding combination arrester in the NAR. Meter panels with eHz pickup also have a space for additional applications (RfZ). This is 150 mm high and can be sealed separately. This area is used to accommodate further operating equipment of the distribution network operator, such as smart meters or ripple control receivers. Among other things, residual current circuit breakers and circuit breakers are responsible for safety. In addition, the meter cabinet must be insulated by means of protection class II (VDE 0603, Part 1).

Loading and equipping of meter locations

For the design of meter locations, the possible currents occurring during operation and the direction of energy flow must always be taken into account. Both three-point and eHz receptacles can be single or double loaded. The internal wiring of the meter locations for direct measurements is usually designed in 10 mm². This allows loads of up to 63A for intermittent operation and up to 32A for continuous operation. For systems with a higher continuous load, the internal wiring can also be designed in 16 mm². Thus, operating currents of up to 44A in continuous operation can be measured. However, with an internal wiring of 16 mm², double assignment within a field is not permitted.

How to find the right place for a meter cabinet

In most cases, meter cabinets are wall-mounted cabinets or floor-standing cabinets. Universal meter cabinets can basically be arranged on or under the plaster in wall recesses. Space-saving partially recessed or flush mounting is also possible (DIN 18013). Many models can be adapted to individual circumstances: complete cabinets are particularly time-saving and uncomplicated to install, as they are already equipped with all the necessary elements. Modular solutions can be built up gradually as required, and empty cabinets comprise only the housing of the meter cabinet. Meter cabinets must be checked and read regularly. Therefore, they should be installed in easily accessible, spacious places with an ambient temperature between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius. For this purpose, house connection rooms are usually planned in new construction in order to provide the meter cabinet with an ideal installation location. Excessively high room temperatures and humidity are taboo: Installation in living rooms, kitchens, washrooms, bathrooms, toilets, garages, attics or storage rooms is excluded according to the technical connection conditions (DIN 18015-1). In case of installation in staircases, production facilities, etc., the respective fire protection regulations must be observed, especially in multi-family buildings and commercial premises. It goes without saying that places where there is a risk of fire or explosion are also not a suitable place for installing the meter cabinet. In addition, premises whose temperature permanently exceeds 30°C (more than one hour according to DIN 18012) are excluded as an installation location. In a single-family house, the circuit distributor is usually installed directly in the meter cabinet. However, a distribution panel is also suitable for multi-meter systems, as there is sufficient space for intercom systems, fuses and the APZ area. For multi-family houses, a centralized or decentralized arrangement is available: Central meter arrangement: Meter cabinets are generally to be installed as close as possible to the house connection box. A meter cabinet centrally located in a house connection box or meter room has the advantage that the main lines remain relatively short. The connecting lines to the circuit distributors are usually longer. Make sure that the voltage drop is not too high! With longer lines, a cross-section of 16 mm² Cu may have to be selected instead of the usual minimum cross-section of 10 mm² Cu. Decentralized meter arrangement: After consultation with the responsible distribution network operator, a decentralized arrangement of the meter system belonging to the various parts of the building is possible. In this case, it must always be ensured that the respective enclosures or meter groups are located in the respective parts of the building assigned to the meters. The arrangement of one meter cabinet per floor requires only short connecting lines to the circuit distributors of the apartments. The main lines, on the other hand, are relatively long. A voltage drop of 0.5 percent must be maintained. This type of installation is usually only used for existing installations.

Installation specifications for meter cabinets

There are also important specifications for the installation of the meter cabinet. We can help you plan the installation.

Mounting height

The meter cabinet must be installed at a minimum height of 1100 mm. In order to ensure trouble-free checking without the use of auxiliary equipment, it must not exceed a height of 1850 mm. In order to create a suitable working area of adequate size in front of the meter cabinet, this area should be at least 1400 mm deep. The distance from the floor to the meter reading window must not be less than 0.80 m and not more than 1.80 m. In front of the meter cabinet, there must be a free area for operation and reading with a depth of at least 1.20 m, a width of at least 1.00 m and a continuous height of at least 2.00 m.

Supply line to the meter cabinet

There are two possible connections: The ground connection connects the main supply line to the electrical installation of the building via the house connection box. This box is usually located in the basement or first floor. The second option for connection is the roof stand line. Here, the house junction box is usually placed in the attic. The main line, which is the connection from the house junction box to the meter cabinet, works through a three-phase line. Back-up fuses (NH) or line circuit breakers protect the meters. It also needs strain relief devices for easy insertion of the cables to connect conductor cross-sections up to 4 x 50 mm2. For safe inspection and effortless maintenance, there is a possibility of attachment for the cable house junction box (DIN 43627) on the meter connection column.

Who is allowed to connect the meter connection box?

No one except a registered master electrician/ specialist electrical company of your energy supplier is allowed to connect a meter cabinet. This is the only way to ensure safety in handling the sophisticated electrical installations and the safe and trouble-free functioning of the device. Incorrect installation causes danger to health and may damage the device.

How to wire the meter cabinet safely

Different networks require different methods of wiring. In principle, wiring up to a rating of 63 A is carried out according to regulation DIN 43870-3 with a cross-section of fine-stranded 10 mm2 Cu. Up to 100 A, a minimum cross-section of 16 mm2 Cu, fine-stranded, is used. Flexible ferrules with a length of 18 mm or similar mechanical measures secure the cable ends on the meter side (DIN 46228).

Frequently asked questions about the purchase of a meter cabinet

What does a meter cabinet cost?

Whereas in the past people got by with very little technology, nowadays electrical installations make a major contribution to comfort and well-being within one’s own four walls. At the same time, it is important to keep an eye on electricity consumption. Since each household requires individual solutions, the purchase of a meter cabinet must be well thought out. The price of the meter cabinet can vary greatly depending on the requirements. In addition, there are costs for laying the supply line and wiring the cabinet. Look for high-quality material and get detailed advice on the individual products, because intelligent technology and safety systems save lives in an emergency.

The 7 most important points for the purchase of a meter cabinet

Get an overview with this list: Here you will find all the relevant steps for purchasing a meter cabinet for a single-family home:

  • Observe the respective rules and regulations for the installation of your meter cabinet. Depending on the energy supply company (EVU), there may be different requirements here in terms of the design and technology as well as the equipment of the meter cabinet. Use this as a guide to find the right meter cabinet for your needs.
  • To find out which model you need, find out about the connection requirements of your network operator or use our inquiry form: https://www.zaehlerschrank24.de/contact/?id=zs24_anfrage.
  • The model selection also depends on how many meter locations you need. Is it just one or several meters that need to be accommodated in the meter cabinet?
  • Do you have a heat pump in your house or do you have a photovoltaic system? If these elements are connected to the system, this must be planned for when selecting your meter cabinet.
  • Will additional components be needed, such as a communication panel, reserve locations, or the like? Might you need additional connections in the future?
  • Would you like to make your home smart? If so, you will need additional space in the distribution area to accommodate Smarthome components and to reasonably maneuver any resulting additional lines.
  • Choose the meter cabinet with the dimensions and design that best fit your living situation after these considerations. However, take into account the fact that additional space is required for laying lines and connecting cables.

Do you still have questions about the meter cabinet and the selection of the right cabinet? Then simply use our inquiry forum or send an e-mail to [email protected] Highest Paying Sales Companies.

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