Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) measures energy, water or gas consumption and provides this information to users, suppliers and utility companies. Smart meters, communication network between customers and utilities, data acquisition and analysis systems are key components that make up an AMI. Many companies, big and smal,l have forayed into this space with solutions on power grid including AMI, remote health monitoring of infrastructure, cloud solutions for better access to data, data analytics, and multiple level security for access to this data.
Several business needs and outcomes are driving users to invest in smart technologies:
- Efficient transmission of electricity
- Quicker restoration of electricity after power disturbances
- Reduced operations and management costs for utilities, and ultimately lower power costs for consumers
- Reduced peak demand, which will also help lower electricity rates
- Increased integration of large-scale renewable energy systems
- Better integration of customer-owner power generation systems, including renewable energy systems
- Enhanced security of data – for consumers and utility providers alike
- Customer Control – the right information and tools to make intelligent energy choices and track consumption usage in real-time.
L&T Technology Services is one such company that is investing in this technology and is helping renewable energy players maximize efficiency, operate smartly, and enhance reliability of energy supply to the grid. LTTS has implemented commercial mesh network for grids and have conducted extensive field testing of the mesh grid. Their collection devices called hypersprout collect data from individual meters and transmit it to the cloud. In addition, they engineered the connectivity from meters to the hypersprout and further from the hypersprout to the cloud. The solution also provides remote management of grid machinery and transformer unit, along with multiple level access security. The algorithms developed by them help iin assessing power forecast, expected life of transformer, expected failure of transformer, peak load and generation forecast with respect to time of the day and area, fault detection and resolution time for power failures/ shutdowns.
There are numerous Business Benefits of implemeting a IoT-based AMI solution:
- Automated processes: Automation of several manual processes such as meter reading and power suspension due to non-payment of bills leads to massive cost and time savings.
- Line losses due to inefficient power transmission, which is as high as 30- 50 percent in developing economies, can be identified and eradicated.
- Operational savings: Cloud automation helps in huge operational savings in the following areas:
- Low metering/billing/collection efficiency
- Electricity theft and tampering of meters
- Low accountability of employees
- Energy accounting and auditing not needed
- Uninterrupted supply: Unwanted power cut due to unexpected transformer failure is avoided due to predictive health analytics. Grid providers are also able to extend the product life of their transformers with the help of proactive and corrective actions.
- Load balancing: Insights on power consumption and consumer behavior can enable grid owners to execute proper load balancing and time-of-use rate plans for seamless energy distribution & management.