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Category "Power"

11Oct

Smart and pre-paid metering

by Team Digireach

How do we make the existing state utilities more efficient and bring down their losses? Smart prepaid electricity meters are one of the answers.

This step is likely to bring revolution in power sector by way of reduction in AT&C losses, better health of DISCOMs, incentivising energy conservation, ease of bill payments and doing away with the paper bills.

Smart meters are a part of the overall advanced metering infrastructure solutions (AMI) aimed at better demand response designed to reduce energy consumption during peak hours.

India plans to change all electricity meters to prepaid smart meters by 2022. This step taken by the government is to address the issue of energy efficiency and optimization. Electricity is the need of the hour. Electric power generation is a prime component in the development of a nation. It is the base to move any developmental activity in the right direction. Hence, it is being addressed on an urgent basis with help of schemes like IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme), RT DAS (Real-time Data Acquisition System). Energy metering system etc.

  • The government believes that the plan will increase distribution substation capacity by 38% by 2022

India has a beleaguered power sector. Proper monitoring and tracking of energy usage via smart meters would go a long way in addressing the problems of the existing energy infrastructure. The strategy is part of the government’s electricity distribution plan prepared by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India’s apex power sector planning body, and comes at a time when the new government is trying to step up its efforts to supply 24×7 power to all.

Creating a smart meter architecture minimises human intervention in metering, billing and collection process and helps in reducing theft by identifying loss pockets. It requires a two-way communication network, control centre equipment and software applications that enable near real-time gathering and transfer of energy usage information.

Smart metering would empower consumers with tools to help them conserve energy and plan their electricity usage in an efficient and optimum manner.

The plan of introducing smart meters is part of government’s plan to fix the power sector in the country. Stopping the unwanted pilferage and making consumers accountable for the usage and wastage will usher India to a new dawn of electricity.

Smart meters, electricity usage tracking, reducing wastage and cutting down on the transmission and distribution losses are the need of the hour.

1Sep

Energy industry-Smarter, Efficient, Distributed.

by Team Digireach

Optimizing maintenance schedules can significantly improve reliability. Preventative measures taken to improve reliability by keeping equipment in optimal condition and detecting problems so that necessary repairs can be done before it fails.

The energy sector is undergoing a massive transformation. IoT sensors measure parameters such as vibration, temperature and wear to optimize maintenance schedules.  Data and other energy parameters are tracked via energy meters. In addition to providing more information to utilities, IoT technology can help customers to be more informed about their energy usage. Internet-connected smart meters collect usage data and send it to both utilities and customers remotely.

The data collected can be used to generate reports. Based on these reports, action can be taken by the utility companies or the customers at a personal level. The reports and graphs can enable the authorities to take action and optimize the energy consumption by identifying leakages and optimizing generation, transmission and distribution.

IoT technology has improved to a great extent in the electrical utility sector. The data collection points, memory space, data processing at the edge-level or the cloud-level can be chosen appropriately so that optimized data collection and preventative action can be taken.

IoT technology can enable the integration of more distributed resources into the grid, but it can also improve grid management in other ways as well. Placing sensors at substations and along distribution lines provides real-time power consumption data that energy companies can use to make decisions about voltage control, load switching, network configuration and more. Some of these decisions can be automated.

Sensors located on the grid can alert operators to outages, allowing them to turn off power to damaged lines to prevent electrocution, wildfires and other hazards. Manual activity of isolating problem areas takes up a lot of time and leads to unwanted losses.  Smart switches can isolate problem areas automatically and reroute power to get the lights back on sooner.

Load forecasting is another aspect of smart power of the future. Power usage data is already collected using an assembly of IoT gateway, cloud, processing power and memory. There are pockets of high power generation and high power consumption both region-wise and time-wise. Load forecasting can help in managing congestion along transmission and distribution lines and help ensure that all of the connected generation plants meet requirements related to frequency and voltage control. This power consumption data can also help companies decide where to build new infrastructure and make infrastructure upgrades. More informed decision and investments in the power sector can go a long way in providing reliable power capacity for each location.

The IoT is transforming nearly every sector of our economy, including the one that powers — the energy sector. Over the coming years, the energy industry is going to get smarter, more efficient, more distributed and more reliable, thanks in part to the IoT.

1Aug

Distribution Transformer Monitoring

by Team Digireach

Electricity plays a very important role in our daily life. We depend on it for light to see, energy to cook, water to drink and so much more. There are many components and equipments involved in regulating distribution of electricity according to usage. The most critical of these is the transformer. Distribution Transformers (DTs) play a crucial role and act as hub in electrical distribution network, and its correct function is essential for reliable power supply to consumers. Catastrophic failure of a critical transformer would result in power outages in the downstream network and could cause significant economic and environmental challenges.

Let us review some of the factors by which Distribution Transformers’ life cycle can get adversely affected-

  1. Unplanned expansion of networks which causes overloading, resulting in additional losses and generates waste heat.
  2. Incompatible devices being run on transformers, such as a 3 phase device being connected to a single phase transformer.
  3. Stealing of power by hooking from the main supply, unbalancing the transformer or overloading it.
  4. Oil drainage, poor power factor, etc. also cause the transformer to age rapidly.

In India, there is an increase of approximately 14% in the amount of DTs in the network. However, these transformers rarely have intelligence or communication capabilities. Lack of information on the loading of the transformer is one of the main reasons for inefficient distribution network. Transformers are to be monitored very cautiously on a regular basis to avoid unexpected interruption and to anticipate upcoming problem. This has led to the advent of smart grids in India.

Smart grids enable the company to monitor the Distribution Transformer’s working, provide the facility to measure critical parameter and transmit the information to remote data center for analysis and visualization which help system operators to monitor and control the system.

Today, most utilities focus on Smart Grid technology and other aspects that are crucial for the success of their Smart Grid vision. This Internet of Things (IOT) powered Smart Grid technology will help the utilities industry to optimally utilize transformers and identify problems before any catastrophic failure occurs. This online-measuring system is used to collect and analyze temperature data over time. Thus Transformer Monitoring will help to identify or recognize unexpected situations before any serious failure which leads to a greater reliability and significant cost savings.

13Jun

Automatic Under-Frequency Load Shedding

by Team Digireach

The maintenance of maximum service reliability has always been the primary concern of the electric utility industry. To ensure this, power systems are always designed and operated such that working is not affected in any system conditions and load requirements are always met. Usually the designing is such that it can hold up service continuity even under emergency situations, but sometimes, unpredictable conditions of faults, forced outages, etc. may occur. When this happens, it is important to ensure that steps are taken to ensure that a major system outage doesn’t occur.

Any part of a power system will begin to deteriorate if there is an excess of load over available generation. If there is an excess of load over generation ratio, the frequency decreases. It is generally recognised that a sudden drop in generating capacity results in a drop in frequency. This drop is not immediate, but rather, happens gradually.

One way to attain the balance between generation and load, before the decaying frequency affects performance, is to increase generation. However this isn’t always possible practically due to system limitations or due to time constraints. So, a more common method is to employ Automatic Under-Frequency Load Shedding (AUFLS). What this does is that it employs a quick and effective means of attaining a balance of generation and load. The application of AUFLS relays throughout the load area, preset to drop increments of load at specific values of low frequency, provides a simple and direct method of minimizing service interruption and alleviating system overloads.

The Load Shedding function provides under-frequency protection at the main distribution substation. As system frequency decreases, load is disconnected in discrete steps according to frequency thresholds. Protective relays are used for automatic gradually under-frequency load shedding. Under and over-frequency relays are specified by frequency settings and delays. And all this can be incorporated by using IoT Gateway which requires minimum system integration and is fully compatible with most of the applications.

8Apr

IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme)

by Team Digireach
2 comments

We are moving to an energy intensive world. Among the different stages of electricity generation and consumption, distribution is a primary area where we can make necessary adjustments in the power sector value chain to increase efficiency drastically.

One of the features of the Indian power sector reforms is the increased attention to the distribution sector. Systems and procedures for monitoring Quality of Service (QoS) of distribution utilities have been finalized by State Electricity Regulatory Commissions, especially subsequent to the Electricity Act 2003.

Distribution is the most important link in the entire power sector value chain.  As the only interface between utilities and consumers, it is the cash register for the entire sector. Under the Indian Constitution, power is a Concurrent subject and the responsibility for distribution and supply of power to rural and urban consumers rests with the states.

Systems to improve consumer interface, quantify performance and to monitor progress in a transparent manner are necessary and welcome steps. QoS process meets one of the many long felt needs to improve distribution sector. At this initial stage, it is crucial that the distribution utilities and regulatory commissions show serious end to end commitment in the QoS process. This includes the steps of formulating the system, reporting performance, monitoring progress and taking corrective measures. It is also important to proactively work for the active participation of consumers at all stages of the process. With such an approach, over the years, QoS process can evolve to be the necessary and sufficient condition for continuous improvement of the distribution sector.

Government of India provides assistance to states through various Central Sector / centrally sponsored schemes for improving the distribution sector. Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) approved on 20.11.2014 with a total outlay of Rs 32,612 crore which includes a budgetary support of Rs 25,354 crore from Govt. of India. The objectives of scheme are:

  • Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in the urban areas
  • Metering of distribution transformers / feeders / consumers in the urban area.
  • IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network
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