Smart meters smartest way of electricity metering

India is currently witnessing a revolution in electricity metering, where electricity meters are replacing smart meters
With rapidly changing technical necessities of consumers, electricity meter market is assertively innovating technologies, mainly the power distribution companies. Energy, an important commodity, has been measured and examined over the years, and many new technologies have evolved to gain more benefit from metering systems.
According to IMS Research, there are 178 million smart meters for energy installed, until 2016 this number is expected to rise to 343 million.
The ‘smart’ metersSmart meters are considered as the next generation of electricity meters. Smart meters can help utilities constantly monitor and measure the consumption pattern by individual customers, who would be aware of any tampering events recorded and control the consumption during grid stress and peak shortage.
“Smart meters are equipped with communication capabilities such as Zigbee or Z wave which can communicate with various controller/devices and manage load of user effectively,” explains Sunil Singhvi, Vice President – Energy, Secure Meters Ltd.
According to J K Agarwal, Marketing Director, Genus Power Infrastructures Ltd., “The smart meters are really smart as they measure the electricity, control the load according to electrical parameters and communicate with central server station for real-time meter data monitoring and analysis.”
Relevance in IndiaIndia loses crores because of power theft which leads to unbilled consumption and unlawful usage of electricity. Smart meters have a very good potential in the country because it offers more control in energy usage and accurate bills.
Even aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) loss is a serious threat to financial viability of power distribution utilities. AT&C losses, the difference between units input into the system and the units for which the payment is collected, were as high as 38.86 per cent in 2001-02 and 34.54 per cent in 2005-06. Although there is no publicly available information of AT&C losses in India, it is said to be around 25 per cent.
According to Deepak V Konnur, Vice President and Sainath Bandhakavi, Sr Manager – Energy & Utilities, IBM India, “Real-time analytics tools can help utilities monitor the performance parameters like AT&C losses in a particular feeder and take immediate action to mitigate losses to occur for a longer time.”
Smart advantagesThe benefits of smart meters are considerable. Smart meters are more efficient and keep a check on usage data which help in keeping energy use under control. Smart meters offer quicker detection and reporting.
According to Mr Agarwal, “Smart meters bring many advantages. It has in-built load control switches in a single unit. It offers integrated communication facility over GPRS and Zigbee. These meters are DLMS/COSEM compliance — open protocol for communication.”
Scoring over traditional metersSmart meter, which is replacing traditional meter, records total electricity consumption every 30 minutes and sends that information automatically through wireless technology, whereas traditional meters can only measure the total amount of electricity once a month because they are read manually.
“In comparison to traditional meter, smart meter has interoperable metering system and integrated system for load measurement, controlling and data communication. It provides real-time meter data information and has reduced manual intervention,” emphasizes Mr Agarwal.
DisadvantagesWith any new technology, there are some doubts. While smart meters have various advantages, they also have certain drawbacks.
“Smart meter has dependency for remote communication on GPRS network availability,” emphasises Mr Agarwal. “The communication network availability/failure is a big issue in rural area.”
ChallengesAbsence of consumer demand toward smart meters is a big challenge as there are no/limited incentives available for prepayment, no instruction of TOU tariff rates, no incentive/benefits for load management and low awareness about their electricity bills and smart meters.
Most important, the government-owned utilities aren’t keen of new technologies.
Key products and technologiesCompetition in the market has pushed companies to create innovative products and technology. Companies are producing products which are DLMS/COSEM compliance, have GPRS and Zigbee (LPRF) enabled communication technology with in-built load control switches.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Most Popular

To Top