What are your priorities?

AMI Single Phase Meter CL710K20
Single Phase Meter CL710K20

I don’t mean eating, drinking, sleeping and other entertainments. Today we are talking about objectives for smart grid implementation. You have most likely already grown structures like a customer database for administration and billing.

For the energy meter data acquisition and processing you need in any case a few modules.

Head End System (HES)

By definition the Head End System collects the data from the smart meters. It’s the simplest function of an AMI system. There is no storage, it’s data reading and providing the results to an interface. Many vendors have integrated the HES into their Meter Data Management System (MDMS).

Meter Data Management System (MDMS)

Once the data have arrived at the HES, they need to be validated and stored. The validation is typically done by an VEE module (validation-editing-estimation) inside the MDMS. The storage is typically done on several servers.
Some additional tasks can be:

With this two modules you have established the connection between your database and the meters.

The next step would be to connect the MDMS with a customer information system.

Customer Information System (CIS)

The CIS gets the required data from the MDMS on request via an API. This system takes mainly care of the billing, customer contract, location and other customer relevant data.

The Huge Grey Zone

With the three items above you will have already overlapping functionalities when choosing different vendors. Now it’s getting more chaotic :)
You can find more modules in the market, e.g.:

All these modules should play together and finally provide answers to your questions related to the grid management or take actions according to your defined rules.

How to start?

I saw many utilities fail to implement proper AMI-solutions on first attempt. Huge requests of meter data made them unable to understand and manage the information. The worst case was an experience in Middle-East where a utility was reading 125 parameters from each meter, every 15 minutes.

My personal approach for an AMI system would be:

  • Having an up-scalable Head End System
  • Having a reliable Meter Data Management System
  • Establishing a connection to the customer management system for billing

With these steps, the revenue protection is covered. We capture also the events and alarms and can do various loss evaluations.
If your focus is more on grid control, you might decide to use an SCADA system as your primary control software. In any case, you need to work together with a trustable and reliable system integrator to realize your specific solution. Tendering an AMI system is not easy. Better you step into a dialog with different vendors about your ideas, needs and visions.

If you like to know more about our AMI system and talk to a specialist, please contact us. We will be happy to consult you.

Final Thoughts

Make up your mind and think about what is really important for you to run a successful and cost-saving smart grid.
If you have already started, maybe you’d like to share your experience. You can drop us a comment.

G-rated off-topic comments on the question “What are your priorities?” are also welcome :)

Thank you for reading.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

10 Replies to “What are your priorities?”

  1. Thank you for answering my question and thank you for all the articles on your blog. It is appreciated!

    1. Thank you for the kind reply and your interest in our articles about metering. It’s always rewarding to hear that people are finding them useful.

  2. Please can you tell me the difference between an event and an alarm? Can you give me a real example of each that a CLOU meter will produce?

    1. Thank you for your question. I suggest you read the article about event logs. In general, an alarm can be triggered from each event, but not each event is worth to trigger an alarm. The individual configuration is always done with the utility to meet their specific needs.

  3. My concern is the mode of data acquisition from the meter to the HES bearing in mind the cost.
    Which communication method would you recommend and why?

    1. When we consider the annual operational costs, the power line communication (PLC) is still the most cost-effective way to connect domestic energy meters with the head end system. With all other methods you are in the hand of telecommunication companies for each single node. Some IoT solutions are coming up, but I haven’t seen dedicated carrier costs so far. Maybe you take a look at the article “Smart Meters and the Internet of Things“.

  4. Please I’m Paul from Benin republic Cotonou precisely someone tampered with my meter so it’s not connecting again please how can fix it back

    1. You need to inform your local power supply company. They can give you a clear tamper token.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *