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Advanced Metering Infrastructure

Smart Meters

The improvement of quality of life has brought the use of more electrical devices simultaneously. To meet this growing demand that creates peak fluctuations during the day, Utilities are forced to build more power generators, improve and expand their electrical network infrastructure, experiencing increasing costs and producing higher Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. A significant challence also is the technical and non-technical losses where in some cases is the most important reason to invest and deploy Smart Meters. Besides the efficiency problems, the environmental impacts forced many countries to take specific measures to reduce their GHG emissions, increase renewable resources share, and improve energy efficiency. The technology to address the aforementioned challenges is the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).

Advanced Metering Infrastructure consists of the Smart Meters, the Telemetering Center and the interconnecting network between them.

Smart Meters measure active and reactive energy, offer time of use tariffs for providing rewarding plans to lower the demand during peak hours, are equipped with integrated load switch for remote disconnection and reconnection of the power facilitating and optimizing business processes. Smart meters employ telecommunication modems to be connected to the Telemetering Center either by using mobile operator's infrastructure (GSM/GPRS) or the Utility's power line infrastructure (Power Line Communications) or other existing telecom infrastructure. Smart Meters can also connect water and gas meters and be used as communication gateways towards the Telemetering centers for these meters as well.

The Telemetering Center includes the Meter Head Ends and the Meter Data Management Systems that can be deployed either as a private or public cloud.

  • Head Ends are data collection systems, managing a number of data concentrators and meters or meters directly for software configuration, functional parameterization and data reading of meters and they utilize 2-way communication such as GSM/GPRS, Power Line Communications (PLC), satellite, RF or IP.
  • Meter Data Management Systems are scalable enterprise application systems that process the meter data and perform validation and estimation, storage to databases, and are enhanced with reporting and analytical tools that enable interaction with other information systems like CRM, Billing, GIS, Outage Management.
  • Level peak demand to lower total energy costs either by controlling specific customer loads or by using Time-Of-Use (TOU) tariff profiles.
  • Reduce outages to cut off lost profits by controlling specific customer loads (i.e. air conditioning, heaters) or by selectively disconnecting customers.
  • Achieve rapid detection, diagnosis and resolution of power quality problems by measuring over/under voltage, over/under current, frequency deviation, etc.
  • Reduce pilferage and, in general, transmission and distribution losses by identifying the problematic locations.
  • Enable the use of distributed generation and storage.
  • Reduce bad debt solving the problem of unpaid bills by using the remote disconnect/reconnect capability of the meter.
  • Achieve flexibility to use post or prepayment accounts without changing the meter.
  • Reduce operational costs for meter reading and billing.
  • Enable customers to efficiently use energy and reduce cost.
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