The Union Government’s initiative ‘Smart Cities’ needs an efficient, reliable and continuous power supply. Present day power sector is facing many problems like high AT&C losses, age old infrastructure, power theft, billing irregularities, unpaid bills etc.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (Smart metering) is a very important constituent for smart grid and factors that determine the success of the smart meters depends on smart metering. Smart prepaid meter (Smart meter) is a superior technology than prepaid meter. Prepaid meters work using electricity tokens or vouchers. This is done by entering the voucher pin using the meter’s keypad. If the token is valid then a credit of KWh is added to the meter as credit and electricity usage is deducted from this credit until it is exhausted or topped up.
Smart meters are computer-controlled and are specially calibrated and tested to comply with international standards. Smart metering technology has been in use for many years now in many countries and has been proven to be effective and reliable at managing electricity consumption.
Smart meter and smart metering are two different terminologies and lot of clarity is required. The smart meter is the individual appliance installed at the consumer’s house or facility, primarily metering the consumer’s energy consumption. Smart metering is an actual application of smart meters on a larger scale, i.e. deals with data acquisition, communication, data management, processing and elucidation those benefits to consumer, utility company and government. AMI (Advanced metering infrastructure) is often used synonymously with smart metering.
The AMI is the future for power industry and serves as an interface between consumer and the utility company. Smart meters can definitely cut the domestic or commercial energy consumption by giving useful information to the consumer, but this information is useful only if consumer looks into it.
Smart meter gives best home energy management solutions for smart homes using technologies like (Zigbee or WiFi).
• More accurate and timely electrical billing.
• Enables consumer to schedule electrical usage in the most optimal manner.
• Consumer can think about a better plan for using the electrical equipment during the expensive hours.
• Consumer can switch between conventional to renewable energy resources such as solar and wind.
• Consumers will have access to detailed information about their daily energy usage on their phone app or web.
• Consumers will be able to set up high-electricity bill alerts and get tips on how to avoid high energy bills.
• Data collection and minor repairs can be done remotely, without scheduled maintenance.
• Problems can be identified and solved remotely.
• Prepaid to Credit and Credit to Prepay can be changed remotely without changing the meter.
• Since meters can be read remotely, there is no utility representative entering the premises and privacy is increased.
• By knowing when their electricity costs more, consumers can shift their demand to non-peak times.
• AMI programmes can notify governments about accurate Kwh consumptions across all consumers and it helps them in subsidy payments.
• AMI will facilitate the integration of electric vehicles and smart appliances.
Hence, Advanced metering systems are the foot soldiers of the smart grid.
— T Sriranga Rao
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