PIAM : Smart Metering (AMR / AMI) Solutions

With demand for electric power constantly increasing, efficient energy distribution and management assume significance. Enabling the Smart Grid is the way forward to achieve an efficient and reliable electricity distribution system, reduce energy costs, enable demand-side management and cut carbon footprint. With effective online data management system in place which enables us to realize the full potential of the Smart Grid, utilities need to adapt them by transforming their operational models, processes and systems. IEC Standards & Technical Know how's integrated Smart tools to enable Successful implementation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)/ Automated Meter Reading (AMR) technology through smart metering solutions. As a result, utilities are increasingly opting for smart meters to streamline their operations and empower consumers to manage electricity usage.

Overview:
Smart meters are critical components of the Smart Grid and enable two-way communication by interfacing remotely with the utility and deliver meter readings automatically. By providing detailed information about consumption patterns, smart meters allow consumers to make informed decisions to alter usage and lower electricity bills. Smart meters allow utilities to better monitor the electric system through demand-side management and demand response to reduce peak loads, remote connect-disconnect option, fraud detection and prevention of outages.
The Electrono Smart Metering Solution is an interoperable, flexible, scalable and secure solution that enables communication with a wide range of meters, and collects and transmits meter data to the control center for analysis. With Electrono's solution, utilities can obtain meter readings automatically thereby eliminating manual effort, detect tamper issues, remotely disconnect electric power supply and offer time of use pricing schemes. By providing inputs on consumption patterns to load dispatch centers or independent system operators, it helps schedule generation from conventional and renewable sources cost efficiently.
Key highlights of the solution:

  • Flexibility to go with numerous architectures and technologies best suited for the customers' requirements and characteristics such as density, latency and performance, operational costs, infrastructure requirements, etc.
  • Can support GPRS, GSM,4G, 3G ZigBee, LPRF, PLC, M-Bus, and more
  • Can support DLMS/COSEM and ANSI C12.19. Large implementation reference with different meter models
  • Global project references in three continents
  • Distributed architecture PIAM Based MDAS / Meter Head end system that can be easily scaled up to communicate with millions of meters.
  • Standard communication interfaces to enterprise applications and systems.

Meter Interface Card (MIC) is the 'smart' component that converts an ordinary meter into a smart meter.
It can be integrated into existing meter designs to enable advanced protocol and communication capabilities in the meters thereby reducing the lead time for new smart meter design. Smart meter manufacturers can focus on core business of metrology instead of building R&D capabilities in communications.
PIAM supports multiple communication channels such as Zigbee, GPRS, EDGE, PRIME PLC, CDMA, RS 485, wireless M-Bus etc. PIAM comes embedded with Electrono's PIAM DLMS/COSEM Metering Protocol Library to support the DLMS/COSEM protocol. The library is DLMS User Association certified and enables meter manufacturers to upgrade their meter models to comply with the DLMS/COSEM protocol thereby ensuring interoperability.
Electrono's PIAM BPIAMd Meter Data Acquisition System is a scalable, secure solution and helps collect meter data from the SYNC 1700 DCU through various modes including GPRS/CDMA/WiMax/LTE Modems. It enables two-way communication between utilities and meters, helps utilities to initiate demand-response programs through monitoring and control, and provides inputs for auto billing, notification etc. Electrono's PIAM can talk to local as well as remote meters over multiple communication channels like RS232, RS485, RS422, Ethernet BPIAM Tx/Fx 10/100/1000 Mbps, GSM, GPRS, CDMA, PSTN, LPR etc., either directly or through port servers or modems. PIAMsupports multiple standards bPIAMd protocols including IEC 62056 DLMS/COSEM, Modbus RTU/TCP and selected proprietary protocols.

PIAM DLMS Meter Explorer – Meter Testing Tool
Electrono offers the PIAM DLMS Meter Explorer to enable meter manufacturers to conduct advanced DLMS meter testing, validation as well as for deployments in small meter reading applications. The Meter Explorer is a Windows based DLMS/ COSEM testing tool with DLMS client driver as well as OPC access (v3.0) server interface. The OPC interface enables easy integration with SCADA systems for monitoring and control applications.

Technical FeatureBenefit
DLMS UAQuicker certification process for meters / end products through the Electrono DLMS source code
Platform independent source filesFaster implementation and integration
Supports HDLC, TCP/UDP and PRIME PLC communication channelsInteroperability
IEC 61334 and security support as per AES GCMAdvanced security
DLMS compliance with international metering Standards.EPIAM of integration and implementation
Supports multiple communication channels including ZigBee and PRIME PLCFlexibility – same meter can be easily customized for different markets and technological specifications
Supports multiple metering protocols including DLMS/COSEM, ANSI C12, M-bus, etc.Interoperability — can work with a large number of metering architectures and country specifications
Consumer metering support for large scale deployment of smart metersReduced infrastructure costs
MRM library for a large number of meter models Interoperability
Numerous data storage optionsFlexibility in storage, as per the customer / market requirements
Integrated M2M router functionalitiesReduced infrastructure costs as need for separate hardware / firmware is eliminated

Metering technology has evolved significantly over the past few years, from manual meter reading to automated meter reading (AMR) and further to advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). AMR and AMI are the building blocks of smart meters and smart grids. Therefore, the adoption of these technologies is growing with the increase PIAM in smart grid implementation. Utilities are using AMR and AMI for varied applications such as outage management and load balancing.

  • Analytics: Dynamic monitoring of distribution transformers enables the identification of overloaded and under-loaded distribution transformers, and any abnormality in the voltage current. This in turn helps the utilities take informed and data-driven decisions for the reduction of losses, better utilization of assets, remote monitoring of assets, faster identification and restoration of metering defects, and optimization of capital expenditure.
  • Outage detection system: While the outage detection system (ODS) is not an in-built feature of the conventional AMR systems, modems can be installed in the system to send alerts in event of an outage. Several utilities are using the modem heart-beat feature for the identification of faults. The outage management modules provide detailed information about the consumer category, number, time and duration of outage, time of restoration of power, outage duration, etc. ODS is also being developed on a geo-spatial map using the latitudinal-longitudinal data of distribution transformers.
  • Consumer portal: AMR brings in billing transparency by providing the consumers with details about their energy consumption through web portals and mobile apps. It also helps in reducing the footfall of consumers at the utility's premises for queries regarding bills, payment of bills, etc.

However, AMR systems need continuous maintenance in order to function seamlessly and efficiently. To this end, utilities may consider deploying IT applications that can identify the faulty modems, engaging in strong service level agreements and annual maintenance contracts with mobile service providers and hardware suppliers, and incorporating the auto reset feature for modems for remote firmware up gradation to avoid modem-hang issues.

Conclusion
Many utilities, especially in the private sector, are already in the process of implementing smart meters and AMI. The approach towards the implementation of AMI varies from utility to utility and depends on the local system conditions and requirements. Challenges pertaining to the high cost of meters and other technologies, interoperability, and lack of skills and experience continue to hold back AMI deployment in the country.
Going forward, the adoption of smart metering technology is expected to pick up pace driven by strong government policy support. Advanced meters are expected to play a greater role. They will not only support distribution loss management, outage management, prepaid metering and net metering, but also help in the improvement of power network performance and operational efficiency and reduction of operations and maintenance costs for the utilities.