Moving beyond just reading meters for billing is a complex undertaking. At the World Meter Design Congress the Smart Energy Alliance (SEA) introduced the concept of “Operational Metering”. Operational metering looks at the holistic approach to metering. The move to add home area networks and disconnects to the meters changes the game. Operational metering assumes that the meter data is time sensitive, or at least part of it is, and works to provide short turn around on data that previously was left in the field until it was time to send it in. This puts pressure on the whole system to perform day in and day out. Operational metering requires a complete re-thinking of the infrastructure – hardware, software and communications. It is critical to make all the moving pieces work together in rapid harmony.
Operational metering is one of the keys to creating the smart grid, reducing carbon and helping customers manage their consumption. Regulators and governments are recognising that metering needs to do more and contribute more, but if the system is not architected as a system, it will be almost impossible to meet the emerging demands of the customers and the regulatory framework. Operational metering gives the ability to go beyond billing and collections and long term reporting into the world of outage management, voltage management, system security, home area networks and more. It provides the path to reduce peak consumption and with that reduce the need for peaking plants, providing dispatchable demand management in its place. It lays the foundation for allowing renewables to exceed the 20 percent threshold that they are currently limited to by the need for ancillary services.
The SEA is driving the next generation of metering – not only the technology, but the processes and the understanding of the way the organisation will have to change to support it. The SEA is basing operational metering on the business drivers that customers have shared.
The SEA, which is an “open” collaboration between Capgemini, Cisco, GE Energy, HP, Intel and Oracle, is working together to provide a holistic approach to this demanding issue in the utility T&D space. The SEA Vision to Smart Metering includes: higher data flow and frequency (uni -> bidirectional), automatic meter data and device state gathering, integration between premise and infrastructure, event triggers to complementary enabling services (e.g. provisioning, billing, outage, and more).
The use of new technologies offer much more than improving the IT side of a utilities’ business, but also provides many more business benefits. The SEA builds scenarios including: customer registration and service provisioning, load, demand, forecast, and outage analysis, and meter location for response optimisation. The business drivers include: customer service and satisfaction, operational score card, enable proactive workforce and service, investment protection of device and infrastructure.
To learn more about the Smart Energy Alliance, please visit: www.smart-energy-alliance.com