You are on page 1of 26

E. FERAS AL-ASALI Electrical Distribution Company F.ASALI@EDCO.


Two communication media between meter and server are applicable in our company EDCo Jordan, The target is to discuss the advantages and dis-advantages of using a such grid of AMR/AMI based on a different communication media :


Automated meter reading (AMR) technology dawned primarily between the mid-'80s and early 1990s. In the beginning, there were three primary options: (1) walk-by/drive-by solutions. (2) one-way, inbound systems. (3) two-way, dial-up, phone-based solutions. Walk-by/drive-by solutions are used still for AMR data collection where radio frequency (RF) modules chirp their readings periodically and a device, either handheld unit, picks up the data when nearby. One-way, inbound systems involved programming meters to send in readings at periodic ratestypically dailysometimes called bubble-up networks. These used consumer phone lines, radio technology or oneway, legacy power line carrier (PLC) signals transmitted over the utility's distribution lines. Dial-up phone systems are straightforward and use a computer to dial modems attached to electric meters, particularly at commercial accounts. A few of these solutions have evolved, allowing adequate data transfer with modern telephony technology, predominantly still used for small batches of meters rather than entire service territories.

Utilities now look at the deployment of AMR/AMI systems to reduce the operating costs, improve meter-reading accuracy, eliminate manmade errors, and improve efficiency through demand management. Advanced metering can be implemented with different levels of intelligence associated to the meter. Typically three types can be distinguished, in order of increasing interaction level and feature contents.

AMR (automated meter reading) is a remote reading system based on an advanced technology that permits utilities to read electronic meters over long distances. Through AMR, the energy consumption can be read on an annual, weekly, daily or on an hourly basis. Consumption and status data, such as time stamps, are through various connection media being transmitted to a central system for billing and analysis. The automatic data collection enables billing based on real time consumption as opposed to an estimated consumption. AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) refers to systems that measure, read and analyses energy consumption. AMI systems can be defined as an extension of the simpler AMR-system. The AMI always communication two-way and comprises the whole range of metering devices, software, communication media, and data management system. AMM (automatic meter management) or smart metering is another expansion of a remote reading system that includes the possibility of performing technical measurements and functions and carrying out customer-oriented services.

Electrical meter: An electronic device that measures the amount of electrical energy supplied to a residence or business. It is electrically fed and composed of electronic controllers. It has an interface which allows data to be transmitted from the remote terminal to the central device. Central office: Equipped with a system which includes receivers, data concentrators, modems, and computers that are able to store and to process received information. Communication system: A communication system needs to be implemented in order to transmit data and to control the different signals between the remote device and the central office.

Highly Person dependent. Human errors cannot be avoided. Accessibility of meters in rural/ Agricultural zones. Energy Audits performed based on bill collection which is highly inaccurate. Billing done mainly on estimated/ monthly average basis Inability to monitor and control discrete loads Billing cycle requires excessive time. Meter data used only for billing, cannot help in analysis like demand analysis, energy audit, pinpointing losses, etc.

Real time Pricing: Customers are charged tariffs that vary over a short period of time, hourly for example. It helps customers control their consumption and helps utility providers to better plan for the energy market. Provide an in-depth study of the real time pricing. Power quality measurement: The electric utility engineers need more detailed readings than KWH so that they can efficiently plan the network expansion and deliver a higher quality of supply. Power quality involves the measurement of voltage sags, swells, under and over voltages, harmonics distortion, voltage and current imbalances, and record duration of each event. Automated Billing: Once the metering data is available at the utility company premises, billing, acknowledgement of received payments, and power consumption reports can be fully automated and made available to customers, on the web for example. Load management: This is another industrial area that will be feasible after having an AMR system in place. The service allows sending control signals to appliances such as air conditioners, and heaters.

Remote Connect/Disconnect: The utility provider can remotely and quickly configure the meter to enable or disable energy to certain customers. Outage notification: This offers an effective way to improving response time. Liu et al. propose an algorithm that involves two steps: outage locating and outage confirmation through meter polling.

What AMR/AMI can offer is not limited to what have been mentioned in above. Generally, with a two communication medias , definitely enables many sophisticated services . AMR/AMI network reliability will be discussed a head

The beginning of smart meters application was an AMR with PLC which had took a place successfully in our company EDCo as a pilot project. With the load growth, high losses had been noticed in our electrical grid of certain areas. An experimental sample -Jordanian village- was chosen where the losses exceeds 60%, the pilot project of (250) single phase meter, (20) three phase meter and (2) three phase meter CT operated. EDCo diced to use Power Line Carrier (PLC) for communication purpose to reduce any capital or operational cost for this pilot project.

Meter Built-in PLC Module Meter communicate with Concentrator directly Concentrator communicate with Master Station

PLC System advantages : By using existing cable infrastructure PLC system eliminates the need for installation and maintenance of dedicated communication links. Already every building or household is connected to the electrical power grid and moreover; every room has power line contact points installed. Without doubt the extent of this existing infrastructure cannot be matched by any other telecommunication technologies that are available today and PLC have many international standard DLMS, IEC.

As the electric power distribution lines were not originally designed for communication purposes as a result they exhibit highly variable and unpredictable levels of channel noise, signal attenuation and distortion Noise and disturbances (Major Obstacle): Common causes of noise on the high voltage electrical power networks include corona discharge, power factor correction banks and circuit breaker operation. On the low voltage network, much of this noise is filtered by distribution transformers, so the most common interference in low voltage domestic networks can be attributed to the various household devices and office equipment connected to the network.

In our project PLC system with about 200 PLC meters, it takes more than 24 Hours to read all the data and sometimes we dont get any reading from some meters (10-12%).

A hazard area on the Jordan Valley itself where the losses exceeded 75%; the regular meters were hanged up on the top of power transformers suspended to a wooden pole. And this procedure was temporarily taken to avoid customers easy reach and tampering (see Figure in next slide) Despite of the above solution, it becomes also very difficult to retrieve the required data without transformers switching off. EDCo decided to use AMI system to settle down this case through the pilot project with AMI & GPRS reducing all risks of PLC. For the target project, (95) single phase meter, (225) three phase meter and (60) three phase meter with CT operated were used supported by AMI & GPRS.The price of AMI system is still at a level where it usually cannot be applied widely to all customers. The price of AMI is mainly determined by the costs of the hardware, the installation and the communication infrastructure and the running cost. The cost issue plays a key factor in replacing traditional metering system with AMI system.

Meter Built-in GPRS Module. Communication area (GPRS with SIM card). The master system Customer interface unit.

Highspeed. Unlimited transmission range. GPRS is very suitable for power applications. Low capital cost where we dont need Consecrator for data collection nor licenses when comparing with RF technology.

Covering GPRS network area depends on Mobile phone operator. Wireless communication method such as GPRS high operational costs especially for a long run projects

Table (1) provides a summary of the attributes reach ability, costs, operator, flexibility, reliability and suitability for advanced metering applications for the different communication means discussed above.

Despite of some notes against AMI application and communication media operational costs especially on the third world area, its highly expected to overcome all obstacles in the coming years. Once the communication media through GPRS are being settled down , AMI system will be a worldwide application.