Smart metering for new age power and utility industry
The smart meter market value is expected to reach beyond the 8% CAGR growth rate within 2026, which has already reached $10bn in 2018.
The evolution of building Smart Home appliances with smart technologies have also made drastic changes in the electric industry. Digitalisation has hit the utility sector with a healthy paradigm shift and changed the way the power and energy sector worked and processed in decades.
So, what exactly is a Smart Meter System?
"A Smart Meter is a small electronic device which records the real-time data of the water, electricity and gas consumption. After collecting the live data, sends it across the consumer and the utility service centre probably in an hourly update."
The future of Smart Metering solutions
Clearly, smart metering is the new norm in the power and utility industry. Already the traditional metering system where the data is collected manually from the electrical box units is becoming obsolete. Let’s see how IoT solutions help in developing a smart metering system.
With the advancement of IoT technology, it is only a matter of time to implement across the length and breadth of a country. Already, many government officials worldwide work closely with private and research organisations to bring in the smart grid system to the public. As these have proved to increase the energy efficiency and cut down the operational cost benefitting to all stakeholders to a greater level.
Technologies used in smart metering systems
When speaking about these smart metering solutions, the network connectivity and cellular communication channels play a vital role to safely and effectively transmit the data over a streamlined system.
LTE-M and NB-IoT technologies help to improve cellular communication effectively and ensure to give uninterrupted connectivity throughout.
Two-way communication channel
Collects consumers electrical data usage via LAN
Using a Wide area network, it sends the information to the utility centre
In response, the utility centre also sends back the key information about the usage stats or blackouts to the consumers’ smart device
All these smart meter model use a mixed wired and wireless technologies like,
HAN - Power line communication, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, Radio Frequency or,
NAN- Copper or Optical fibre, GPRS or,
WAN- Cellular, Satellite and optical fibre
Based on the existing equipment model, compatibility of adapting the new technology to the current model, whether it’s for a large organisation or small group, are some of the factors to be considered before deciding on Smart Meter technology.
Key Functions of Smart Metering System
Below mentioned are some of the important key features of the smart metering solution:
Measuring the Power Quality
Analysing the quality of electric current helps to avoid low voltage and streamlines the energy system in an efficient way.
Power consumption data
Consumers can get real-time communication of power usage details which will alert them to reduce energy usage and save on the annual utility bills.
With the help of in-built technology, smart assets can be controlled to monitor the health of devices and troubleshoot when required.
Peak energy usage can be clearly analysed using data analytics tools and software, helping consumers cut down on costs and make better energy usage plans during expensive hours.
Promotes distributed generation
Load management for each communication network can be monitored, distributing power equally across networks with no downtime.
The consumer can seamlessly switch between the conventional mode and renewable resources, as per their tariff.
Provides the consumer with electrical billing segregated into detailed usage data.
Smart Metering advantages
IoT smart metering solutions help to leverage the energy utility sector by optimising the load management through equally distributing the energy and transparent/accurate energy billing to the consumers.
The first and foremost advantage of using the smart metering solution is the cost factor. It not only informs the consumers about the peak usage hours, but also alerts them to any abnormalities in the energy equipment.
Reliable Network and Technology
Also, Advanced Meter Reading AMR with AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) technology provides both the consumer and the utility service provider a win-win situation by offering greater transparency, reliability and reduced cost factor.
Sensible Energy Usage
Utility bills can be lessened significantly by making use of a Smart Meter’s off-peak and on-peak usage parameters, which recommend the usage timings through detailed data analysis.
With the advancement in the IoT technology, it is only a matter of time before smart metering systems are ubiquitous. Hence, Smart Grid is a vital component which tracks, monitors and collects the data for remote reporting. Many government officials worldwide are already working closely with private and research organisations to achieve this goal, as it has proved to increase energy efficiency and benefit stakeholders with lower costs.
This article was contributed by Jay Elango, Contus
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