Meters will tip you off on power use

Meters will tip you off on power use

 Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) and Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (Cesc) have launched a “smart meter” that can track daily, hourly and even minute-wise consumption of power.

The smart meter has many features. “Customers will be given an option to buy a battery-operated customer interface unit, a remote-type device showing the meter readings.  The meter can also reduce disputes over billing.

One can easily gauge how much each power-guzzling devices like air-conditioners and fridges consume,” explained Kasturirangan, Director, Siscon Hefcom Smart Solutions, the private firm that has offered the technology for a pilot project.

The device will also help Bescom and Cesc manage peak-hour and non-peak power situation. Bescom has installed 80 such meters in two private apartments at Girinagar here. Another 35 have been set up in Mysore by Cesc.

The private firm has supplied the meters for the project free of cost. The two-way communication meter is equipped with a data concentration unit developed by a group of 15 engineers, with futuristic technology. The device transmits energy consumption data every 15 minutes to a central server (currently housed in South Africa) linked to Bescom / Cesc through the General Packet Radio Service.

S A Satish Kumar, General Manager, Smart Grid, Bescom, told Deccan Herald that the smart meter would benefit the consumer and the utility.

“This meter can be utilised either as a pre- or post-paid option. But the advantage is that the consumers can plan their energy consumption.

“The utility can get all the readings of the meters, negating the need for individual meter reading,” he explained.

The consumers are at an advantage as the utility can manage power without resorting to load-shedding.

“If the smart meters are connected to smart grids, the utilities can balance the demand and supply through the system by connecting to the nearest available grid, even with the national grid.

“If the smart grid is not in place, the utilities can manage power supply without resorting to load-shedding by making directions to the consumers,” said Kumar.

The two-way smart meter can also help measure the power generated by households that use renewable sources of energy (wind, solar and hybrid power).

The meter measures the power supplied to the grid, and the utilities will bill the net power consumption.

There is also a gateway option, where the consumers of pre-paid meters can use all the available modes of payment as enjoyed by prepaid mobile phones.

The consumers can pay their bills and even post messages through the device.
The power utilities may also monitor tampering of meters and shifting as they will have access to the geographic information system (GIS) of the consumers.

The meter movement can be easily ascertained and the assets (meters) mapped.
Using Zigbee technology developed by Siscon, the smart meters can communicate with other meters in case of any problem to send data to server within a one-kliometre radius.
The power utilities can also monitor and levy time-of-the-day tariff from the consumers, if the consumption exceeds the limits.

Bescom plans to call for mass deployment of the meters if the device is found effective.
Cesc has already begun evaluating the functioning of the meters.

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