Smart metering technology evolving in India

Smart meters have come a long way establishing their presence in the utility market to developing advanced technology for better utilisation of energy
 Smart metering has soon become an emerging market in India with utilities focusing on smart metering to improve grid infrastructure. With technology becoming advanced smart meters help utilities to collect information about energy usage transmitting it via fixed communication to utilities. Smart metering today has improved the quality of energy and help in optimum utilisation of electricity.
Are smart meters really smartSmart as a word when used for any device or individual is supported essentially via its way of working. In case of meters whether it is in case of electricity, water or gas, the term ‘smart’ has a lot of significance associated with it. An electronic energy meter logs past 3 to 6 months of consumption (billing data) along with consumption pattern (load survey). It also has tamper detection intelligence and provides multiple communication ports for retrieving the data. It provides a neat display for consumer’s and meter reader’s convenience.
JK Agarwal, Joint Managing Director, Genus Power Infrastructures Ltd believes, “The features of measurement of electricity in 2-way communication with central server station for real time meter data monitoring and control of load according to electrical parameters/condition, makes the meters really smart.” A smart meter in addition, has features of an alarm notification in case of severe tampering attacks like high ESD (Electro Static Discharge) and EMP (Electromagnetic Impulse). The smart meter not only logs the data but also generates an alarm to preconfigured mobile numbers or email accounts of utility personnel to gain immediate attention.
This feature not only prevents power theft but also provides valuable evidence against notorious consumers. In some parts of world, the smart meter architecture even enables utilities to plug any communication module on to a smart meter, giving them flexibility to communicate wirelessly (using LPRF radio modules or GSM/GPRS) or through wired medium (PLC or RS-485). “The best part is smart meters are getting smarter every day. Now a smart meter can communicate over IPV6 networks (every meter having unique IPV6 address worldwide) giving the consumer and utility, absolute information and control respectively,” says Abhed Misra, System Applications Lead – MCU and LPRF, Texas Instruments India.
Relevance of smart meters in IndiaAdoption of smart meter in India is becoming popular and there is a need to adopt the practice of using smart meters. With public and private utilities realising smart meters as vital components for their infrastructure.
Speaking on relevance of smart meters in India Mr Agarwal feels, “Smart meters in the Indian context are very much relevant, where demand for electricity is always greater than availability. Smart meters help utilities to manage/control the load/demand in a better manner.” Smart meters enable time of use based on tariff to encourage consumer to use electricity in off peak time. Smart meters are good in conditions like brown out (reduced load) facility to avoid complete disconnection of electricity. Smart meters get disconnected during abnormal electrical conditions, avoiding any hazard. With large geographical region it is always a challenging to give best services, IT enabled meters gives real time information to central server station for better services.
Smart meters give all the information through consumer display units and local displays needed for load analysis. This in conjunction with tariff for peak hours can be used to balance the load distribution along with savings on monetary side for consumers. The consumption pattern allows consumers to distribute their load over the day, like using washing machine being used in cheaper tariff hours and using air conditioners on little higher temperatures thereby conserving power and saving money. This also allows utilities to purchase power if needed from other states or utilities in off peak hours on cheaper rates. Pre-Payment facility discourages defaulters and ensures cash flow for utilities making them earning profits instead of incurring heavy losses. “It is very important to know that most of the power utilities in India are losing out due to heavy AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses, which generates an absolute need for Smart Meters,” saya Mr Misra.
Advantages of smart metersA smart meter has number of advantages. For example, smart meters enable consumer with accuracy in their electrical bills. A smart meter sends information to your energy supplier on how much energy you have used on regular intervals. The most important and significant ones are unique in terms of worldwide access, monitoring and control and future ready from a communication perspective.
India has taken the lead in defining standard of smart meters. In a world of multiple technologies for different application needs, the Central Power Research institute of India and Power Ministry could narrow down to 6LowPAN on abstraction layer, IEEE802.15.4/15.4g on MAC and PHY layer and DLMS on application layer for communication. This enables the entire smart meter installation going forward to be uniquely addressable and accessible worldwide through IPV6 address. Each smart meter with inbuilt load control relay provides control to utilities and consumer as well. “With DLMS as a standard application protocol having pluggable communication capability, smart meters will enable any future communication technology module to be plugged and used readily, feels Mr Misra.
Emerging technology in smart meteringFor any technology to be understood and accepted, the stages of its evolution need to be looked upon. There are several new technologies which are being worked and looked upon to be used in smart meters or smart grids. Some countries are working on Zigbee protocol standard on Sub 1GHz band and are reusing the maturity of that standard for effectively addressing their certain specific needs. Zigbee also uses IEEE802.15.4, appropriately addressing all the layers of an OSI model of the communication network.
Commenting on the emerging technologies in smart metering Mr Agarwal says, “There is reduced vendor dependency, interoperable metering system, integrated system for load measurement, controlling and data communication. Improvement in customer response, real time meter data Information.” There are certain installations of smart meters in which the meters offer smart phone connectivity through BLE/Bluetooth as well. “Texas Instruments with its vast portfolio and offerings of LPRF radio’s completely caters to all the technologies and has certified and proven solutions on both, the hardware and software side,” remarks Mr Misra.
Trends in smart meteringSmart meters have been usually considered expensive and unaffordable by the Indian consumers. But with the recent demand for smart meters growing companies are coming out with newer technologies which provide optimum utilisation of energy, security from thefts, capacity to handle fluctuating loads etc.
With an Indian standard specification for smart energy meter in place, it is now almost a mandate for all the power utilities to ensure purchase of smart meters only. Mr Misra opines, “It is understood and accepted by all the stake holders in the power sector that with technologies like IP connectivity, load control, theft/tamper alarm and pre-payment, any further delay in using them is only going to cost more and more money.” Leveraging the smartness of smart meters for various benefits is as of late, trending. ”With initial hick-ups to accept the emerging technology in the last 2 years utilities are accepting the benefits of advance technology for optimum utilisation of available energy resources. The pilots done in initial stages are now started converting into business, inputs from utility and learning from field experience improvising in product features,” says Mr Agarwal.
__________________________________________There is reduced vendor dependency, interoperable metering system, integrated system for load measurement, controlling and data communication.
 JK Agarwal, JT Managing Director, Genus Power Infrastructure
_________________________________________________
The best part is smart meters are getting smarter every day.
Abhed Misra, System Applications Lead – MCU and LPRF, Texas Instruments India.

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Smart metering technology evolving in India

Smart meters have come a long way establishing their presence in the utility market to developing advanced technology for better utilisation of energy
 Smart metering has soon become an emerging market in India with utilities focusing on smart metering to improve grid infrastructure. With technology becoming advanced smart meters help utilities to collect information about energy usage transmitting it via fixed communication to utilities. Smart metering today has improved the quality of energy and help in optimum utilisation of electricity.
Are smart meters really smartSmart as a word when used for any device or individual is supported essentially via its way of working. In case of meters whether it is in case of electricity, water or gas, the term ‘smart’ has a lot of significance associated with it. An electronic energy meter logs past 3 to 6 months of consumption (billing data) along with consumption pattern (load survey). It also has tamper detection intelligence and provides multiple communication ports for retrieving the data. It provides a neat display for consumer’s and meter reader’s convenience.
JK Agarwal, Joint Managing Director, Genus Power Infrastructures Ltd believes, “The features of measurement of electricity in 2-way communication with central server station for real time meter data monitoring and control of load according to electrical parameters/condition, makes the meters really smart.” A smart meter in addition, has features of an alarm notification in case of severe tampering attacks like high ESD (Electro Static Discharge) and EMP (Electromagnetic Impulse). The smart meter not only logs the data but also generates an alarm to preconfigured mobile numbers or email accounts of utility personnel to gain immediate attention.
This feature not only prevents power theft but also provides valuable evidence against notorious consumers. In some parts of world, the smart meter architecture even enables utilities to plug any communication module on to a smart meter, giving them flexibility to communicate wirelessly (using LPRF radio modules or GSM/GPRS) or through wired medium (PLC or RS-485). “The best part is smart meters are getting smarter every day. Now a smart meter can communicate over IPV6 networks (every meter having unique IPV6 address worldwide) giving the consumer and utility, absolute information and control respectively,” says Abhed Misra, System Applications Lead – MCU and LPRF, Texas Instruments India.
Relevance of smart meters in IndiaAdoption of smart meter in India is becoming popular and there is a need to adopt the practice of using smart meters. With public and private utilities realising smart meters as vital components for their infrastructure.
Speaking on relevance of smart meters in India Mr Agarwal feels, “Smart meters in the Indian context are very much relevant, where demand for electricity is always greater than availability. Smart meters help utilities to manage/control the load/demand in a better manner.” Smart meters enable time of use based on tariff to encourage consumer to use electricity in off peak time. Smart meters are good in conditions like brown out (reduced load) facility to avoid complete disconnection of electricity. Smart meters get disconnected during abnormal electrical conditions, avoiding any hazard. With large geographical region it is always a challenging to give best services, IT enabled meters gives real time information to central server station for better services.
Smart meters give all the information through consumer display units and local displays needed for load analysis. This in conjunction with tariff for peak hours can be used to balance the load distribution along with savings on monetary side for consumers. The consumption pattern allows consumers to distribute their load over the day, like using washing machine being used in cheaper tariff hours and using air conditioners on little higher temperatures thereby conserving power and saving money. This also allows utilities to purchase power if needed from other states or utilities in off peak hours on cheaper rates. Pre-Payment facility discourages defaulters and ensures cash flow for utilities making them earning profits instead of incurring heavy losses. “It is very important to know that most of the power utilities in India are losing out due to heavy AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses, which generates an absolute need for Smart Meters,” saya Mr Misra.
Advantages of smart metersA smart meter has number of advantages. For example, smart meters enable consumer with accuracy in their electrical bills. A smart meter sends information to your energy supplier on how much energy you have used on regular intervals. The most important and significant ones are unique in terms of worldwide access, monitoring and control and future ready from a communication perspective.
India has taken the lead in defining standard of smart meters. In a world of multiple technologies for different application needs, the Central Power Research institute of India and Power Ministry could narrow down to 6LowPAN on abstraction layer, IEEE802.15.4/15.4g on MAC and PHY layer and DLMS on application layer for communication. This enables the entire smart meter installation going forward to be uniquely addressable and accessible worldwide through IPV6 address. Each smart meter with inbuilt load control relay provides control to utilities and consumer as well. “With DLMS as a standard application protocol having pluggable communication capability, smart meters will enable any future communication technology module to be plugged and used readily, feels Mr Misra.
Emerging technology in smart meteringFor any technology to be understood and accepted, the stages of its evolution need to be looked upon. There are several new technologies which are being worked and looked upon to be used in smart meters or smart grids. Some countries are working on Zigbee protocol standard on Sub 1GHz band and are reusing the maturity of that standard for effectively addressing their certain specific needs. Zigbee also uses IEEE802.15.4, appropriately addressing all the layers of an OSI model of the communication network.
Commenting on the emerging technologies in smart metering Mr Agarwal says, “There is reduced vendor dependency, interoperable metering system, integrated system for load measurement, controlling and data communication. Improvement in customer response, real time meter data Information.” There are certain installations of smart meters in which the meters offer smart phone connectivity through BLE/Bluetooth as well. “Texas Instruments with its vast portfolio and offerings of LPRF radio’s completely caters to all the technologies and has certified and proven solutions on both, the hardware and software side,” remarks Mr Misra.
Trends in smart meteringSmart meters have been usually considered expensive and unaffordable by the Indian consumers. But with the recent demand for smart meters growing companies are coming out with newer technologies which provide optimum utilisation of energy, security from thefts, capacity to handle fluctuating loads etc.
With an Indian standard specification for smart energy meter in place, it is now almost a mandate for all the power utilities to ensure purchase of smart meters only. Mr Misra opines, “It is understood and accepted by all the stake holders in the power sector that with technologies like IP connectivity, load control, theft/tamper alarm and pre-payment, any further delay in using them is only going to cost more and more money.” Leveraging the smartness of smart meters for various benefits is as of late, trending. ”With initial hick-ups to accept the emerging technology in the last 2 years utilities are accepting the benefits of advance technology for optimum utilisation of available energy resources. The pilots done in initial stages are now started converting into business, inputs from utility and learning from field experience improvising in product features,” says Mr Agarwal.
__________________________________________There is reduced vendor dependency, interoperable metering system, integrated system for load measurement, controlling and data communication.
 JK Agarwal, JT Managing Director, Genus Power Infrastructure
_________________________________________________
The best part is smart meters are getting smarter every day.
Abhed Misra, System Applications Lead – MCU and LPRF, Texas Instruments India.

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