The energy and utility industry are transforming with technologies such as predictive analytics, which are making grids smarter. Power generation sources are becoming cleaner, and customers have more than one alternative to purchase electricity. The advent of Big Data and analytics are playing a critical role in these developments.
Big data analytics has the potential to address and improve several issues in the power sector – operational, strategic, and financial, among others.
Big data analytics for the electricity distribution industry
The electricity distribution sector faces an “explosion” of data coming from a variety of sources. Some examples include field measurements like smart meters, smart sensors, etc., asset monitoring, distributed generation data, electric vehicle charging data, customer-driven data, and other important data sources for outage management. This data often referred to as “Big Data,” contains valuable information for improving reliability, cost efficiency, energy efficiency, operations, planning, asset and outage management, as well as customer experience and grid resiliency. This is exacerbated by a rapidly changing market environment transitioning to a higher proportion of distributed energy resources and the challenges they present.
The use of Big Data analytics brings along various practical challenges associated with inadequate training for data collection, curation, cleansing, and extraction and challenges related to data management policies, including privacy, confidentiality, and security. Electricity sector players need to define how to leverage Big Data and information and communication technology automation to create new business opportunities and manage market-driven change.
The main challenges utilities face with Big Data can be grouped in:
- Lack of the right talent to identify the right use cases;
- Lack of readiness to deal with Big Data;
- Lack of clarity about the return on investment.
Nevertheless, utilities must find a way to deal with these challenges to reap the many benefits Big Data offers. Increased revenue and reduced maintenance costs are seen as two key motivators for using AMI technologies, smart grid data to drive business strategies.
Below we describe a few of the main opportunities that come with the investment in AMI technologies, which might be considered as a fundamental and starting point for implementing other Big Data systems.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) by ADD Bulgaria integrates smart meters, communications networks, and data management systems. The system provides many important functions that were not previously possible or had to be performed manually, and so it revolutionizes the way DSOs operate. These include the ability to:
- automatically and remotely measure electricity use,
- automatically and remotely connect and disconnect service,
- detect and prevent tampering,
- identify and isolate outages,
- monitor voltage, current, power and other electricity parameters.
Combined with different customer technologies, AMI also enables utilities to offer new time-based rate programs and incentives that encourage customers to reduce peak demand and manage energy consumption and costs.
Opportunities for DSOs and customers
AMI’s enhanced data collection and analysis and two-way communication present many opportunities for utilities to support grid operation and customer service.
Utility Rate Structure
AMI can bring time-of-use and real-time pricing to the mass market and, in many cases, provide utilities with a strong business case for doing so.
The meter data management system is able to incorporate the calculation of both the net energy generation and incentives and communicate these derivations to the customer.
AMI technologies will often allow access to real-time data about the conditions of the utility grid and how individual consumers use electricity. These data are valuable to many parties, but customer privacy must be observed. Utilities may be reluctant to share the information. One solution that has been used is that regulators do not allow utilities to have control of the data. Instead, third-party vendors should be engaged to manage the data and assure neutrality.
The control functionality and the capabilities of AMI may reduce the barriers to the interconnection of distributed renewable energy technologies. Limiting distributed generation (DG) penetration to 10% of local distribution rating may be eased as the utilities can be assured of knowing the conditions on its grid at all times and controlling DG device interaction. Thus, AMI technologies may allow greater penetration of distributed generation and reduce the barriers to interconnection.
Standardization of AMI Requirements
The DSOs that are reviewing implementation of AMI projects must consider the ability of the proposed technology to communicate with other technologies. This can be ensured when standard communication protocols are used. Diversificitaion of the risk is a priority.
The benefits for operational activities are various. Events related to interruptions, accidents, switching on, switching off, repairs are carried out much more efficiently, with less driving to remote locations, less unnecessary actions and more analysis and forecasting. For example, even before there is an outage, AMI can help, such as identifying equipment or equipment that may be overloaded or damaged and require replacement. In other words, AMI allows utilities to be proactive and plan, rather than react to problems after they arise.
Advanced metering infrastructure benefits
- Customers gain access to detailed energy usage – in hourly or more frequent intervals – that they can use to track improvements as they invest in making their home or business more energy efficient.
- Customers can receive notifications of high usage to identify potential problems.
- Customers can participle in new pricing and demand response programs.
- Utilities gain a clear picture of the grid and can easily locate outage areas and respond more quickly.
- Utilities can identify damaged or overloaded equipment and proactively address issues before they cause an outage.
- Utilities can see cost savings because meter-reading expenses can be redirected to other functions.
Advanced metering infrastructure by ADD Bulgaria
ADDAX is an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution that allows a two-way automated data flow between the meter and the Distribution System Operator (DSO). Our solution ensures better control and monitoring of the electrical infrastructure.
It is built by:
- Single phase meter – multifunctional and multi-tariff meter
- Three phase meter – multifunctional and multi-tariff three phase meter
- Three phase CT connected meter – multi-function and multi-tariff indirect three-phase meter
- Data concentrator – communication and data collection device, providing two-way data transfer between end points in the electrical infrastructure.
- Head-end Software – full-control dashboard where you will find all types of infrastructure information in one place.
Thanks to ADDAX AMI, electricity distribution companies have reduced their non-technical losses by more than 10%. To find out more about this mutual achievement – download our success stories: