Heat metering partnership offers range of benefits
4advantage UK Limited, supplier of metering, monitoring and controls products, has formed a partnership with Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution Group, providing sales and service within the UK for the full range of Ultrasonic energy metering equipment.
The new Ultraheat 2WR5 ultrasonic heat meter from Siemens is currently the only ultrasonic heat meter in the world whose flow port, even for flow rates from 0.6 to 2.5 m³/hr, is all metal. Thus the heat meter’s flow sensor operates without any moving parts, which results in no wear and tear. Siemens assigns the meter a useful life of more than 15 years.
A patented ultrasound signal guidance system offers a measuring accuracy that exceeds the German PTB and the European CEN stipulations. Available for all nominal flow rates from 0.6 to 60 m³/hr, with low pressure loss, units can be installed with no required pipe restrictions and can be supplied in battery or mains-powered versions. Various communication modules and programmable pulse outputs (ideal for BMS) allow meters with self-diagnostic functions to communicate with the supporting software and optional billing packages.
AMR with a DSM application
Australon, a public company established to meet demand for remote monitoring and control applications, has developed an end-to-end, Internet-enabled, remote AMR system which provides real time energy consumption monitoring. The Australon AMR system is a two-way communication network which allows the application of demand side management (DSM) practices such as scheduled control of customer loads, reduction of maximum demand and load spreading.
The system uses the latest 2.5G wireless technology (GPRS) in combin-ation with power line commun-ications (PLC) technology; the improved performance of the latter was one of the main reasons for its selection as the transport medium from dwellings. The use of GPRS and its attendant low cost data transfer charges has resulted in an inexpensive, wireless data transmission capability, but other mediums can be used where coverage by GPRS is not available. Meter data can be delivered all over the world. By using an IP infra-structure, information can be readily accessed from existing LAN/WAN systems.
New half-hour data collector accredited
Clarity is a wholly owned service of Stark Software International Ltd and is Elexon-accredited as a half hour data collector and data aggregator. The prevalence of estimated meter data in the UK is leading to billing problems for many commercial and industrial energy users. Now, for the first time in nearly four years, a new half-hour data collection agent has achieved accreditation.
Clarity is an independent service that harnesses the power of Stark RT software to manage meter interval data. Stark RT is an AMR program used by utilities, suppliers and large energy users around the world. The power of Stark RT gives the vital access to the raw meter data. Making this primary information universally available is the first step in resolving the contentious billing problems faced by suppliers and their customers.
Gaining Elexon HHDC and HHDA certification and accreditation is a challenging process. Clarity aims to set new benchmarks for performance that will go a long way towards improving the attitude of customers to the accuracy of their bills. Later this year the company plans to launch a major connectivity initiative designed to cut data collection costs.
US utility plans to automate 1.3 million meters
PPL Electric Utilities, based in Pennsylvania, USA, will spend some $160 million between now and the end of 2004 on changing its 1.3 million electric meters so that they are able to read consumption data remotely. A pilot project involving 10,000 properties in two communities is slated to take place over the next two months. Once the utility is sure that the upgraded meters are able to perform according to specification, all the meters in the two communities will be replaced.
PPL has opted for installing a transponder in the meter which will transmit the data through the power lines. New equipment will be installed at the substations to gather the data and transmit it to PPL’s offices via telephone line or the cellular phone network.
The transponders, which will be fitted both to new and existing conventional meters, and the hardware for the substations will be supplied by Distribution Control Systems Inc (DCSI).
AMR pilot scheme in Brunei
The Brunei Darussalam government’s department for electrical services has commissioned an AMR pilot project run by Hadhi Technologies. The company’s MeterLink AMR system uses the latest power line carrier (PLC) technology and, for this project, wireless RF communications to offer remote meter reading, remote connect/disconnect, automatic tariff changes, one meter for both credit and prepayment customers, multi-utility readings and intelligent load control and more.
The multi-utility meters perform a reading every 30 minutes, with the data stored in the meter. The configurable reading schedule and retry mechanism for the local data concentrator (LDC) in the sub-station, remotely configurable from the central control system in the utility office, reads all meters every three hours and, in this set-up, demand records every four hours, using PLC. The central control system performs automatic billing, currently configured for once a month, and reads all meter and demand records automatically from the LDC tables once a day using the wireless RF communications. Prepaid metering payments are credited to the meter within an hour, using the same communications infrastructure. Ad hoc requests can be made at any time. The GIS interface used improves service to customers.
MeterLink AMR systems have already been installed in Ghana and Kuwait, and the pilot in Brunei is progressing well. An installation in Bahrain is planned for the first quarter of 2002.
IP data subscription from Australia
UNIDATA (Australia) a company experienced in low power data acquisition systems, has released Crossramp, its latest development in remote monitoring and metering applications.
A dedicated Internet Protocol (IP) data subscription service, Crossramp is suited to a range of services, including utility metering. It provides field units (XRTs) that connect to data loggers and instruments, and these field terminals collect the data and forward it to Crossramp servers. Crossramp uses the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), which offers data rates of between 14.4 and 56 Kbps.
It is an IP system that is ‘always on’, providing a constant Internet connection. UNIDATA has taken advantage of this feature to build a system that allows customers to harvest data via the Internet at any time from the Crossramp field terminals. A satellite data network option is also available.
FUJI announces commitment to Lonworks
Fuji Electric, Japan’s largest provider of control systems, has announced
a number of initiatives designed to expand the use of Echelon Corporation’s LonWorks® system within the Japanese market. In addition to developing LonWorks based products, Fuji will join Echelon’s Open Systems Alliance programme and become an integrator of open LonWorks networks. It will become an authorised Echelon training centre, and will add a dedicated LonWorks sales organisation for sales within the Fuji Group, to other OEMs, and to network integrators.
Additionally, Fuji will expand its role in the LonMark Interoperability association from a partner member to sponsor member. As a LonMark sponsor, Fuji will become part of the organisation’s board. Fuji expects to invest more than $4 million and have more than 200 engineers and sales people dedicated to LonWorks related projects during 2002.
The initiative will offer customers solutions that will integrate their control systems and their ERP, SCM, CRM, or other IT systems.
New handheld system for multi-utility
United Utilities Networks, a UK utility with 2.5 million electricity, gas and water customers, has chosen Psion Teklogic’s netpad® product to assist with meter reading. netpad is a rugged hand-held tablet, loaded with Whatley Associates’ TODAY software – a field operative data capture and retrieval system.
Field engineers use the netpad to up- and download management and scheduling data from the central database server, allowing the utility to communicate emergency customer requests and information to field service staff 24 hours a day. The netpad’s large, high-resolution touch display allows users to view forms and schematics and to alternate between portrait and landscape views. It offers over eight hours of continuous battery life. The initial roll-out of 100 netpads for use throughout the UK is likely to lead to the implementation of further netpads within United Utilities’ operations.
Energy Industry looks ahead to 2010
Complexity and uncertainty in the business environment is a fact of life for the coming decade, but there is strong disagreement both within and outside the energy industry on the nature of the key issues that will be important to it within that time, according to a new study conducted by Deloitte Research (The Utility Executive’s Field Guide to the Future).
These key issues are liberalisation; globalisation; energy supplies; geopolitics; economic conditions; environmental concerns; information and communications technology; energy technology; terrorism and organised crime; and customer demand.
The study involved utility executives, corporate energy managers and engineers in 15 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas. On the global level the consensus is that the energy industry of 2010 will be shaped chiefly by the decisions of regulatory agencies, parliaments and executives as well as by the moods and motivations of customers and the infusions of new technology. Capital availability and economic conditions are seen as having only moderate influence while other factors such as fuel supplies, the weather and labour unions will have the lowest profile. However, the relative importance of these factors varies from one region to another.
The report suggests the need for a “strategic flexibility” business approach, which is defined as “competing effectively today while simultaneously developing the capabilities needed to compete across a variety of possible futures”.
Enterprises that are strategically flexible prepare for a range of potential threats and opportunities using techniques such as scenarios, real options and financial options, says the report. They base their plans on the full range of possible futures, and as events unfold they move rapidly to meet new challenges and opportunities.
In the coming decade executives will need to work with uncertainty rather than denying it or resisiting it, says the report. “This is a time of complex possibilities, and the best approach is to address that reality.”
New digital electricity meter
Invensys Metering Systems has based its new digital electricity meter – the iCON™ Meter – on Analog Devices, Inc.’s energy measurement IC. The ADE7759 provides Invensys with a solid energy measurement technology that optimises the iCon Meter’s capabilities to include ‘smart’ functions in demand by utilities, including integrated electricity/gas/water meter reading and remote data collection.
The iCon Meter boasts easy connectivity to facilitate AMR and access to networked utility data. Other features include end-point device monitoring, network connectivity and Internet access to energy consumption data. The increasing importance of more accurate energy measurement data and real-time access to that data is accelerating acceptance of digital metering technology, which allows companies to offer highly accurate energy management services to their customers.
www.ims.invensys.com / www.analog.com