AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) is a system which opens new opportunities for the utilities, thanks to its function to deliver rich information, which until now they did not dispose of.
This information can be used for many purposes, all of which aim at better assets and business management. In order for this information to be really valuable, however, first it is necessary to build a data base and this data should then be processed and presented in an interactive and easy to understand and to analyse way.
Here comes the Arista Management Centre, which is a hardware and software solution with rich functionality and capabilities. Moreover, it is easily integrated to other business applications like billing systems, CRM, etc. Not only is compatible work of all the applications possible, but it is also possible for them to support each other – for example the billing data can be cross-checked by the data from the Arista Management Centre.
Based on the two-way communication - from the end point through the Router/Data Concentrator to the Management Centre are sent data and alarms for events (like open terminal cover of the meter) and back – the Management software controls the metering points and the communication equipment through configuration and commands to them (turn on/off of the breaker relay).
Standards compliance - the software complies with standards developed by national or international organizations like DLMS, IEEE and ISO. The different applications work with Operating Systems that use standardized interfaces.
Architecture - the Arista center is based on modulation principle. This will allow the development of a certain element of the system and its modification has a very limited or no impact on the whole system. In this way the normal utility operations are neither interrupted, nor disrupted, while the module is being under construction.
This shows that the system is distributed, which leads to two positive effects:
- It can be easily scaled up with the increase of data to be processed by just adding up another server.
- It is decentralized – all the servers operate independently and there is no danger of overloading a single server (which could happen in case of centralized architecture).
Applications of the system are various and meet different needs of the customers:
- Analysis of the data, collected by the meters and the DCs – when such a big amount of data is collected (every 15 minutes the meters send consumption and other types of data to the DC and the MDM), it is very important to find the correct designation of the data, so that the information is extracted from it.
- Integration with business systems – the Management Centre has an interface with different business systems like billing, CRM and it allows collection and distribution of information to customers, suppliers, utilities and service suppliers
- Forecasting – never before has it been possible to make real forecasts, based on real consumption and needs. Thanks to the analytical functions of the software, the utilities can predict exactly how much electricity energy they have to buy from the electricity producers. This service is appropriate for the big trade and manufacturing factories. They will be able to plan their load profiles and hence to achieve optimization of their consumption, and their costs, respectively.
- Possibility for real-time-consumption observation – the end consumers will be able to receive information about their real consumption through the a web portal whenever they want to see it. This way they can control their own consumption habits. Research shows that knowing their real consumption, people are more likely and willing to take care of their habits and even decrease the amount of electricity they use.
- Possibility to offer multi-tariff measurement –it will give the National energy regulator more flexibility to introduce more tariffs (minimum three) through distant update of the software and the meters.
- Demand response – through special programmes for demand response, the end customers will be able to take advantage of discounts or preferential rates, if they limit their consumption in peak times of the day/the month/the year.
- Observation of the quality of the distributed electricity energy – with Smart metering the data is collected either every 15 minutes or hourly. The data about the current value of pressure, current, cos F are sent to the database in the Management Centre. The end customers have some level of access to this database, so that they can check these values themselves.
- Possibility to make balance reading on a transformer station level between the distributed and the actually consumed energy. This precise technology contributes to network loss identification. The utility can then take the necessary measures. Decreasing the network losses to only the tehnical losses is a serious prerequisite towards decreasing the price for the end cusomters.