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What makes Intelligent metering so smart? – Learn the top 8 benefits

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While smart meters can help customers understand and reduce their energy bill, intelligent meters provide many more direct benefits to the utility.

Leveraging the business intelligence meters collect, utilities can identify power quality issues, ensure revenue accuracy and better balance system dynamics and improve network reliability.  With so much going on under the hood let’s take a quick look at what makes this class of metering so essential.

1. Accuracy

First and foremost an intelligent meter must provide precision electrical energy measurements (“how much”) as it is after all the meter.  A small inaccuracy can add up to a significant financial impact for the utility at bulk power locations such as interties or large customer loads.

 Intelligent meters designed and manufactured by Schneider Electric feature industry-leading accuracy that meet and or exceed existing standards to ensure operations and minimize financial loss.

2. Advanced power quality monitoring and analysis intelligence

Intelligent metering is supposed to be just that…intelligent.  Therefore, actively monitoring the quality of the power (“how good”) should be looked at as an extension of measuring the voltage and current the meter is connected to. 

This scenario can help to avoid issues and power shutdowns before they occur as power quality anomalies can cause equipment malfunctions across distribution networks, and at customer sites. Intelligent metering provides continuous cycle by cycle monitoring of power and identification of potential issues as well as true “report by exception” event alarming and notifications.

Critical measurements associated with power quality include waveform capture, sag/swell detection, and harmonics for total and individual for V and A.  Intelligent meters include on-board data and event recording as well as sequence of events recording to 1mS to pinpoint exactly when issues happened.

With this level of measurement functionality, verification and compliance to the latest power quality standards can help avoid contract disputes and therefore become a regular and invaluable part of the work flow. With active and intelligent power quality monitoring, equipment and power reliability are improved while operating expenses are reduced. Isolate, analyze, and correct the source of power quality problems quickly and prevent future occurrences.

3. Make your grid smarter

With rapid changes ongoing in the utility world, the ability to make meaningful upgrades in technology to drive adoption of the new digital utility model is crucial. The acceleration of intelligent metering should be viewed as a piece of the natural progression.  With new terms becoming common, the intelligent meter will take a seat at the table in the growing Internet of Things / IOT category. 

The following is a quick list of growing trends that further demonstrate areas of importance intelligent metering provides immediate value to.

  • Smart Cities are driving accelerated build out of AMI…and intelligent metering is essential
  • New energy landscape is leveraging Grid Modernization projects…intelligent upgrades are key
  • Renewables continue to dominate growth…and contribute to network concerns
  • Reliability and resilience driven by expanding IOT…more places to distribute smart technology
  • Cyber security concerns driven by NERC requirements…all connected devices must be hardened

4. Improve system reliability

Even a momentary loss of power can be costly for all parties. Intelligent metering can help improve electrical network reliability, so you are always powered on for customers.

Minimize disruptions and issues with power quality monitoring. Identify issues and pinpoint the cause more quickly, for faster correction should an event occur.

Improved traceability provides better technical assessment of both real-time load conditions as well as post-event analysis and documentation. High-speed and highly-accurate measurements help capture power events quickly while integrated software can help pinpoint the cause for quick correction or avoidance.

5. Single device solution to maximize asset value and minimize capex

Eliminate the need to maintain multiple pieces of equipment with a single, multi-function device that directly contributes to equipment and cost reduction. Avoid costly time training personnel on multiple types and manufacturers’ equipment.  

A single metering device can be utilized to provide functionality to meet multiple use cases; power quality monitoring and compliance, revenue metering, energy modeling, microgrid operation, renewables metering, capacitor bank switching and control and more. Intelligent meters feature scalable functionality and the ability for customized engineering applications to further their role in maximizing business benefits.

Intelligent functionality also plays a key role in the ability of this class of device to readily adapt to changes in operational, regulatory and environmental requirements by providing a means to adjust the existing hardware platform via the integrated Operating System (OS).  The ability to adapt to evolving requirements and future proof the platform is paramount to efficient asset utilization.

6. Improved customer satisfaction

Intelligent metering empowers the ability to share actionable energy data information with customers, giving them the ability to improve energy efficiency use and save money.

Customers can access their site-specific load profile information via a number of methods including dashboards, thereby greatly improving visibility and communications.  The above is fast becoming a tool for utility marketing account teams to proactively engage with key customers and strengthen business relationships.

7. Seamless system integration

Intelligent meters integrate readily with existing utility billing systems and other power management software platforms (SCADA, ADMS, Power Quality / Fault location) using industry standard communications media (serial, ethernet, landline and wireless) and protocols (DNP3, IEC61850).

Schneider Electric intelligent metering devices can also integrate data and intelligent analytics directly with power and energy software such as EcoStruxure™ Power Monitoring Expert or EcoStruxure™ Power SCADA Operation. Once data is collected system operations personnel can easily view data in real time dashboards as well as generate and analyze customized reports.

8. Big Data

The ability to share critical systems data with multiple stakeholders simultaneously, securely and reliably surely enhances transparency and better collaboration.

Intelligent metering provides access to the most accurate data as well as multiple types of data. Power and nergy data. Power quality data. Revenue and billing data. With enhanced visibility of data comes improved situational awareness and control of your overall system.

Intelligent data allows actionable change to lower operating expenses, improve reliability, and make utilities more competitive in the new energy landscape.

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Thank Paul for the Post!

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