distribution automation
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smart grid
Gary Barrow, senior vice president, energy delivery, technology and innovation

Jamaica will spend almost US$40 million over a five year period rolling out smart grid applications and cutting line losses, according to a report in the Jamaica Gleaner.

The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) has reported a one per cent increase in system losses, largely due to electricity theft, a development that has cost the company US$18.4 million in revenue.

Gary Barrow, senior vice president, energy delivery, technology and innovation says JPS will spend between US$6 million and US$8 million per annum in technology upgrades over the next five years.

Over the last two years, the light and power company has installed about 60,000 smart meters, which is just about 10 per cent of the 580,000 customers served by JPS.

The company has been testing the smart meters in selected homes as part of its Smart Grid Interface pilot. JPS already has the ability to remotely fix power outages, reroute power and monitor usage.  It will now start focussing on tackling the 26% in energy losses it is currently experiencing.

"When you talk about a smart grid, it is really about putting more intelligence into the grid. It is where you start and where you end.

"That is how the technology is evolving. It is getting the data and using a lot of sophisticated analytical tools that translate that data into information for us," Barrow told reporters.

Smart grid pinpoints energy theft

Interestingly, 65% of JPS revenue comes from customers with smart meters. This is because 100% of all large customers - about 5,000 in all - have smart meters installed. Coverage has also been extended to medium-sized businesses and other heavy users.

Once the smart grid system is fully installed, Barrow says JPS will be able to pinpoint energy theft at the micro level.

"Before, we knew that an entire feeder was suffering from theft, but now, we are actually able to take it down to transformer level. So if only 25 customers are on that transformer and we know that ... we are delivering more energy than what we have billed for, now we can pin-point with great granularity where the theft is happening," he said.

Industrial cybersecurity market will grow by 14.17%

In other smart grid news, the industrial cybersecurity market globally will grow at a CAGR of 14.17% over the period 2014-2019, according to a new report.

The increased adoption of smart grid is seen as a leading trend in the upcoming market. However, an increase in attacks on utility and manufacturing concerns through DDoS, keylogger, adware, and crimeware has lead to an increased adoption of industrial cybersecurity.

According to a release by Markets and Research, “Cyber threats are internet-based attempts that disrupt or damage IT systems and hack critical information using spyware, malware, and phishing. The major attacks seen in the utilities and manufacturing plants include phishing, watering hole, Stuxnet malware, DoS, and brute-force.”

The report cautioned however, that the high cost of deploying cybersecurity solutions is a deterrent to the market.

“The total cost of ownership of industrial cyber security solutions includes the cost of licensing, system design and customization, implementation, and training and maintenance,” the release stated.

The market size is calculated on:

  • Revenue generated from the sales of industrial cyber security software, services, and hardware
  • Revenue generated from the Americas, EMEA, and APAC

It covers the utility sector (energy, nuclear power, oil and gas, and water) and manufacturing plants, where industrial cyber security is gaining prominence to strengthen and maintain secure functioning of assets, networks, and systems.