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Home » PREMIUM » Emerging trends in smart metering

Emerging trends in smart metering

July 8, 2021 5:23 pm

Emerging trends in smart metering
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Installation of smart meters and their use is gaining pace in India with the government’s policy to bring in smart intelligent solutions in the sector. Vinit Mishra writes more on the developments.

Before 2000, electromechanical meters dominated electricity measuring. They were only able to gauge electrical energy. However, it was determined that a meter capable of communicating and measuring electrical energy, as well as other electrical characteristics, was required.

Automatic meter reading was added to electronic meters between 2005 and 2014, which was a huge accomplishment since it allowed the data to be sent in real time. It could, however, only enable oneway communication. This constraint was solved with the development of smart meters, which can communicate in both directions. Smart meters, like electronic meters can monitor all electrical characteristics and convey data in a useful way.

Indian Smart Grid task force was launched in 2010 for activities related to ‘Smart Grid’ including smart metering (14 pilot projects) in India. Further, smart meters were pushed through IPDS scheme in India. On December 3, 2014, the Integrated Power Development Scheme was inaugurated. It was the Ministry of Power’s flagship project.

Smart-Meter-EY-India-1

The National Smart Grid Mission was established in the year 2015 to accelerate Smart Grid deployment in India.

The key drivers that aided the power industry to gain momentum were:

  • AT&C loss reduction
  • Data analytics for real time monitoring of load, demand-supply, consumption pattern, theft identification, etc
  • Automation in power sector – Advent of Industry 4.0 with penetration of IoT
  • Transmission and distribution network strengthening
  • Carbon footprint reduction
  • Consumer satisfaction and
  • Utility capacity building

Phase I (2014-17) and Phase II (2017-20) were two initiatives to support DISCOMs by including budgetary support for encouragement and mandating smart meter projects to increase financial stability.

The Budget for FY 2021 also announced the advent of the Revamp Scheme for distribution infrastructure.

The focus areas of the present smart metering scenario include:

  • Target Rollout: India is estimated to install 250 million smart meters over next few years
  • Total Spending: Total spending in next three years in Indian power sector is expected to be `1.5 lakh crore
  • Potential Benefits: Prepayment, data availability on real time basis, analytics
MoP System Integrator DISCOM Consumer
The Government of India’s initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Smart Cities’ need the efficient and reliable power supply Assured annual revenue for next 10 years Revenue assurance (pre-paid smart metering) Hassle free Discoms process like metering and billing
An encouragement for environmental conditions with less CO2 emissions More business in Power sector Better Load management Better and prompt compliant redressal
Keeping up with Global Trends across power utilities Better downstream opportunities like data monetization etc. AT&C losses Reduction  Prepayment or postpaid mode of payment option
India to be the forerunner in Smart meter implementations across the country Reduced operational cost (long term) Net-metering and saving energy cost
Alleviate DISCOMs from their financial distress Better decision making and network planning Awareness of energy consumption

Advantages of smart meters

The first thing that comes to the mind when we hear the word ‘Smart Meters’ is that it offers a wealth of intelligent functions including the ability to inform consumers how much energy they are using. Smart meters can also communicate directly with the utilities thereby eliminating the need for meter-readers. But that is not all, categorising the benefits across the major stakeholders of the smart meter ecosystem to understand the most significant ones from the long list of benefits that it can offer.

Government support

The Indian power sector has been witnessing rapid changes with the government’s roll out of various policies for achievement of affordable and accessible 24×7 power for all. The policy support for promotion of smart metering has embarked (15 percent grant under draft guidelines of Revamp Scheme), but it has a long way to go.

Envisaging the policy support for the promotion of smart metering in India:

DISCOM:

  • Well performing DISCOMs should be ranked and rewarded by providing relaxation of interests by financial institutions like REC, PFC, ADB and WB to support their journey of smart metering
  • Regulatory interference for finalisation of proper framework and standard of performance for SM projects

System Integrator:

  • Phase wise incentivisation to achieve milestone for projects
  • Unified and standardised process for implementation of SM project
  • New SBD from NSGM has clarified and laid out features

Consumer:

  • Consumer level promotion and awareness of smart metering benefits should be mandated by MoP
  • Consumers should be made aware of the benefits of prepaid metering by incentivising in tariff rates
  • Time of use tariff rates should be promoted

Supporting smart electricity initiatives

Modernising India’s grid system by investing in smart metering promises to mitigate several strains placed on the grid due to growing demand for electricity. In particular, AMI will improve these key features of India’s grid system including:

  • Smart Governance: Demand-based infrastructure planning with enhanced decision making
  • Smart Environment: Digital technology and intelligent approach of reducing carbon foot-prints and way ahead to clean energy
  • Smart People: Promotion of data sharing and exchange, promotion of co-creation, open innovation and empowerment of citizens
  • Smart Economy: Promotion of resource efficiency and sustainability by reduction of operational cost
  • Smart Living: Increased quality of life with automation. Aims to transform the citizens interaction with technology Smart Grid: Increasing rural electrification by isolated microgrids, localised augmentation of infrastructures

Product & technology trends

The worldwide smart meter market is projected to expand at 4 percent CAGR in the period of 2020-30. The Indian government mandates and supports policies for smart meter installation throughout enduse sectors such as residential, commercial, and industrial are credited to this increase. The new horizons in smart metering technologies in the various categories are:

Smart-Meters-EY-India-2

Communication:

1) 5G

  • Ultra-low latency (1 ms)
  • Massive access (10 million connections/sq. km)
  • High security to mitigate SLA of meters to billing (~99 percent)

2) NbIoT

  • Power Saving Mode (PSM) and Extended Discontinuous Reception (eDRX), the two features are designed to help IoT devices conserve battery power and potentially achieve a 10year battery life

3) E-Sim

  • Easy interoperability facility allows multiple SIM
  • Remedy of de-oxidation issue in physical SIM
  • Physical SIM activation and installation timesaving can be avoided

Infrastructure:

  • Unified Meter Data Management System (MDM)
  • Smart metering operation control centre (SMOC) for monitoring of implementation, operations, Cloud security, etc.
  • Dedicated app for real time network asset and consumer information update

Data analytics:

Digital solutions will enable the transition to a contactless, data-driven utility.

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Forecaster & Optimiser to make AI-based energy supply and demand determinations. Controller for predictive device control and active synchronisation

Author: Vinit Mishra, Director – Technology Consulting, Ernst & Young LLP

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