Tamper Protection for Ami Meters - Beyond the Base

Tamper Protection for Ami Meters - Beyond the Base

Posted by Steve Diebold


New AMI electric meters have additional access points to seal against tampering -- beyond the traditional sealing of the meter to its base. The meter base seal is still needed but added features on AMI meters also require added protection.

Many AMI meters have both an access port for data retrieval, and a manual reset switch. Both are located on the face of the clear meter housing. These can be used when a technician is working on a meter on site, as opposed to remotely reading or resetting the meters.

Reset switches have a hole for inserting a tamper seal (lockout) or other lock device. But often the hole is only large enough to fit a wire or other device up to 2mm across.

Data ports, unlike reset switches, do not all accommodate sealing. But some do have a hole for a seal, which might be round or slotted.


Model PSW-97 is especially suited to sealing both of these AMI features. The wire on PSW-97 fits perfectly on either of these points and can be locked with a simple push of the stainless steel locking plunger after the wire is inserted. Then any excess wire can be cut off or tucked out of the way.

Other wire seals like rotary locking seals and those with an anchor shaped plastic locking clips have limitations and issues which could potentially create problems. Twist type rotary locking seals can potentially jam, or the plastic tab used to turn the rotary lock could break off, making the seal unusable. Both twist seals and anchor type seals use a fixed wire length which limits options in purchasing because multiple lengths may need to be purchased and stocked. The fixed length wire that is permanently attached to those seals can also cause issues in the field if the wire is damaged or won’t fit the device.

PSW-97 gives the field technician options of using pre-cut wires, or bulk wire which can be cut to the needed length at the time of installation. Also, if a replacement wire is needed before locking the installer can cut a new one or use another pre-cut wire. This is because the wire is not permanently attached until the seal is locked. The seal body and its assigned serial number can still be used as intended even if a new wire must be substituted during installation.

Another advantage of PSW-97 is the ability to use varied wire types without buying other seals. AC&M supplies wires pre-cut or on bulk rolls, made of galvanized or stainless steel. Copper is also a standard option. The buyer does not need to buy other seals to use other wire types. A mix of wire types and lengths can be stocked, making inventory control simpler if more than one wire type is needed.


New advances in gas metering and remote reading water meters have introduced similar closure points that provide a place for tamper sealing. Many of these, as with AMI electric meters, use a small hole for the tamper seal to fit. Here the PSW-97 wire seal is an ideal tamper evident seal to use. In fact, for safety purposes on gas meters the seal can be set using Nylon instead of metal wire -- which eliminates the potential for any metal-to-metal contact.

Thus preventing potential for a dangerous spark.


Whether you need a standard padlock seal for the meter base or something else for AMI meter functions, special installations or other tamper evident sealing to protect your assets and revenue, AC&M can help.

As a leading manufacturer of seals since 1910 American Casting & Mfg. Corporation has the experience and resources to help with any application for meter seals and all types of tamper evident requirements. Our web site contains detailed information on the latest AC&M products.

We invite you to ask any questions or request advice, product information, samples or other information on seals and their use. Call or chat online during EDT business hours or contact us anytime through the web site.