This article is based on our customer satisfaction reports and interviews. It shares the results of more than 30 ClouESP AMI installations for utilities in different countries in different scales. The largest single utility installation covers more than 300k data acquisition nodes.
How to understand advanced metering infrastructure?
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) integrates smart energy meters, communication networks and data management systems. There is a two-way communication between utilities and the meters. The AMI system is providing a number of important functions and informations, which were not previously possible or had to be performed manually.
The below listing is not ranked by importance because each utility has it’s own objective for system implementation.
Remote Meter Reading for Billing Purpose
The utilities have more overview about the real consumption. This enables them to issue accurate invoices. By relying on meter readers, some utilities have reported that the given readings haven’t mandatory matched with the reality, carefully formulated. This was especially the case on countryside installations.
Remote Meter Reading for Planning and Forecast
This feature was coming up new for the utilities. Now it’s possible to drill the total consumption down to consumer level by reading every 15 minutes or, still more popular, by downloading the daily load profile.
The retrieved data are used for various purposes, e.g. to adjust annually the general tariff structure. Also, the power generation or purchase can be better adapted to the expected needs.
Connect- and disconnect Services
The utilities are saving time, money and workforce by disconnecting meters after a customer has moved out of his house or apartment, respective reconnect the meter for a new tenant.
Fraud and Tamper detection
With increasing cost for electrical energy, also the number of meter tampers is rising. CLOU smart meters have a tamper protection which is disconnecting the meter in case of manipulation. In some regions, the loss due to tamper is more than 40 %. It’s coming more and more essential to have beside of automatic disconnection (meter side) also a reporting including the reason at the AMI center.
The comprehensive meter event log can be read-out any time to get more information about the installed meter, and it’s history.
Outage detection and isolation of faults
With help of the last gasp push message, utilities are informed about outages as soon as they occur. This is saving valuable time for restoration and energy rerouting.
In order to improve the power quality, the voltages behind the distribution transformers can now be easily monitored. If the voltage is frequently too high or too low, the service team can adjust it by choosing a different secondary tapping.
The internal latching relay of CLOU smart meters can be set to a certain limit to assure that a general minimum power supply is guaranteed for all users. The limit can be set individually or by region. This is especially helpful for utilities, which used to operate with load shedding in the past.
Line Loss Measurement
In the past, line loss was estimated respective calculated by some key-factors. With our AMI systems, the utilities made good experience in getting accurate figures. At the same time also various line tampers (hooking) have been detected.
The utility call center can now retrieve meter status information instantaneously and answer customer questions. By reading the meter logs, it’s even possible to tell the reason. Most popular is a tamer due to an open terminal cover.
If the smart meters have a push-function, an eventual outage situation is reported to the AMI system before the first customer is calling.
For STS-payment systems, the utilities can now offer an online service for token purchase and submission to the energy meter.
Integration of Energy Meters from other Suppliers
Some customers have already smart meters from various manufacturers. All of them have been integrated in the CLOUESP AMI system. Essential is, that the meters are compliant with the DLMS/Cosem protocol.
All above topics have been highlighted in terms of cost saving by our customers. We are grateful for the feedback. Special thanks to my assistant Irene for structured preparation and additional interviews.
Thank you for reading. If you have AMI related questions, please talk to us.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in March 2022 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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