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Enclosures and meter cabinets

Metering enclosures and cabinets are used for mounting energy measuring equipment installed at each end user in the power system. They are available in several types, depending on the number of consumers and the type of power supply (three-phase or single-phase).

Enclosures and meter cabinets - parameters and application

Enclosures and meter cabinets differ not only in material - there are both metal and plastic cabinets available on the market but also in dimensions, division of sections, possibility of installing single or three phase meters and required protection.

Metering cabinets for single and three-phase meters

The majority of end consumers are supplied from three-phase networks, which is why the most common types of meter boxes are designed for installation of three-phase meters. Such cabinets are installed in single-family houses, as well as in multi-family buildings in most cases. In the past flats were supplied with single phase and in that case meter boxes are designed for single phase meters.

Small industrial plants or workshops also use three-phase power supply, and here it is necessary to install cabinets for three-phase meters. Sometimes in some cases universal meter boards are used, which are useful in case of single-phase power supply with the prospect of soon changing to three-phase power supply.

Large industrial plants do not usually use typical meter cabinets, as they are often supplied from medium voltage, have their own transformer stations which convert the voltage to low voltage and the measurement of energy consumption is more complicated in this case.

Protection in meter cabinets

When issuing the connection conditions, the distribution system operator (DSO) sets out the type of protection to be used in addition to many other parameters. With these guidelines in hand, you must select a meter cabinet which meets the requirements of the DSO.

There are meter enclosures available on the market which take into account the most frequent cases. These are

  • meter cabinets without protection (B/Z) - only the meter(s) can be installed in this type of enclosure,

  • meter cabinets with protection in the form of fuses (TL) - in these enclosures there are usually ready-made fuse sockets prepared for operating up to four circuits,

  • meter cabinets with TLR protection - these enclosures perform the function of meter and distribution cabinets and are equipped with TH 35 rail for mounting the modular apparatus - usually for a few modules designed for redundant current switches.

Mounting of meter cabinets

Like the protections, the location of the meters is also specified by the DSO in the connection conditions. It is therefore not possible to freely select or change the location of the meter cabinet - this must be agreed with the operator.

The Operator suggests a suitable place in relation to the actual conditions in the given location. Sometimes, it is a standing metallic cabinet integrated with a cable junction - it can be individual or contain two or more meters measuring energy at neighbouring end customers. At other times, the Operator provides for an individual meter cabinet mounted in a niche or on a wall, e.g. in a multi-family building.

Flush-mounted meter cabinets are the most commonly used meter cabinets installed on the walls of buildings. They are installed in a pre-cut recess in the wall and are the most aesthetic solution. Their doors are flush with the wall, and the cable entries are not visible in any way.

In places, where partitions are too thin, to be able to chisel out a recess, a surface mounted cabinet should be installed. If the installation is also carried out on the surface, the cable connections will be visible. In the case of flush-mounted installation, the installation can be carried out in such a way as to create the best possible aesthetic effect.