Keynote address: Smart meters the way forward for demand side management and Smart Grids Conference:

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Nov 21, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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Keynote address
:
Smart meters


the way forward for demand
side management and Smart Grids


Conference:

Transmission, Distribution and Metering, India



New Delhi, 10
-
11 November 2010

(Enabling Smart Grid & Smart Metering)


Session:

Demand Side Management



Abstract


The
widening gap between the Demand and Supply for electrical power in
India

triggers the need for
alternate mechanism
s

of
Demand Side Management, while
the dream of
round the clock

-

round the year
power for common man still remains a questio
nable vision.
Managing demand through load shedding makes
it worse for the utility as it increases the energy/ power shortage due to the snowballing effect resulting in
increased use of inverters, voltage stabilizers and UPS systems.

Innovative DSM measure
s are needed to
address the situation.


Probably, one way of addressing the
load shedding menace
is
through
load rationing
, where
power/load
could be rationed
to provide
limited
uninterrupted supply to the essential
loads
like lights, fans, water pumps
an
d refrigerators etc. during the power deficit period,
without
seriously impact
ing the consumer comforts
.

T
his is achievable through the
smart meters
installed at consumer premises with inbuilt load limiting/control
switches,
while they
serv
e

the larger obj
ectives of Smartgrid

as well
.


2


Shri G K PANCHAL

SECURE METERS


KEYNOTE ADDRESS


Smart meters


the way forward
for demand side management

and Smart Grids



The Indian power sector has more than trebled its installed capacity in the last two decades
. Y
et
there
are
large energy deficit
s

and still larger peak power deficit
s

leading to long hours of load shedding in different
parts of the country. It is foreseen that the
re will be
deficits at the end of the 11
th

Plan and perhaps even after
the

optimistic

12
th

Plan

and way into the third decade of the 21
st

century

as our track record
in meeting
capital addition targets
has
rarely been good
. This is not a pessimist’s view.
I
t is an optimistic view, the
optimism lying in the hope that the demand
will possibly
gro
w at a pace more than envisaged

particularly
because
the
Indian economy has also been
growing
more
rapidly
. The Indian economy will outpace itself if
we
have abundant
energy
to support the
growth
.
Growth is linked to energy availability and
an apprehension

is,
shortages will
continue to
exist. If

so,
w
hat will happen to the electricity needs of the common man? Will our
generation or the next
be
ever
assured of round the clock
energy
like in most other countries worthy of
mention in the world?

When
will the

time come when
the common man,
you and I
not only in
large
cities but
in the small towns and villages get assured electricity

round the clock
and round the year
? Will
it ever be
possible
?



In this background, the
Indian
distribution
sector

is
also
str
uggling to reduce its AT&C loss and bring about
commercial viability
.
In fact it has been trying to do this, now for quite a number of years with some success
coming on the way
but
in fragments
and
still far away from the goal.
It is
also
struggling to cat
er to
the
ever
increasing demand
,

managing it by either overdrawing or
load shedding
, both of which affect the commercial
viability of the utilities.
The distribution network
s are
in no good shape and
many utilities are
struggling
to

improve supply
quality

and
reliability
. They find it difficult to garner funds
for upgrading and strengthening
the network

as there are
a
number of government
run
utilities
who are
neck deep in
debt

and
with
their
assets pledged against their loans.
W
hile all this is happening
,

substantial funds are flowing in
through R
-
APDRP initiatives to bring in IT in

power sector, which
is
believe
d
to solve a
number of problems
.
Perhaps it
will, but information from meters in isolation cannot solve the problem of shortages. Something differ
ent is
needed.
T
he idea of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Smart Grids
, born in the Western world
is
now
catching on

in the minds of
power sector leaders and policy makers
, and
many of us

fee
l
that the Smart
Grid, if it does come about, will

tak
e

us to
some
utopia
.

This brings us to the cross roads.
How do we deal with ground realities of improving the electricity
distribution system, the wires and transformers

while
walk
ing

towards modernization
through IT
interventions

and
introduce technologi
es for Smart Grids
? How should we
deal with energy and peak power
shortages
because Smart Grids will never be smart without energy? And finally, how do we
address the
concern of the common man
by assuring him electricity
round the clock

in the era of short
ages
?

That is the
key question. Is it possible, or is it a wild goose chase?

3


Perhaps it is possible
; perhaps it is
not.
This is where innovative ideas are needed. And, i
t

does not depend on
ideas alone

but how well we implement it.
It will depend on how th
e utilities, the Regulators and the
government will view the ideas. It will also depend on how the consumers respond to it. But something is
possible to make our grids really smart.

Let us look at the problems,
and let us look at it differently. Let us
not

look at it
from a point of view of the
Utilities

as we have been doing all along,

but from the perspective of a customer.
Let us not
look
at measures
that will strengthen the utility like reduction of AT&C loss, IT, and so on, which of course will benefit

the
customer though indirectly. Let us look at matters that directly affect the customer and find out whether
there can be a direct solution
.

After
all the objectives of the utilit
y

is to serve the
ir

customer
s
.




The first and foremost probl
em is energy and peak power shortage which leads to load shedding and
therefore loss of supply to consumers. And quite often the load shedding happens unannounced. Now, is there
a way to circumvent the load shedding in spite of shortage of generation?

Let
us see what many
consumers
do to deal with
power outages and
load shedding. They suffer, silently and
helplessly.
Some who have the resources have invested in diesel generators and invertors.
Over the years
a
growing number of consumers
in some cities and
towns
are purchasing invertors to give them a few hours of
relief. Th
is is
expens
ive
for the middle class

and out of reach for the poorer section of people
, but what can
be
done
? The

diesel generators and invertors have only a limited capacity
to cater
fo
r a part of the
ir

lighting
loads only. Consumers
find it difficult to run

their
refrigerators,
w
ater pumps
or their air conditioners. If a few
lights or fans are ON, switching on the TV might
even
trip the
inverter
. That is, the backup power devices in
the

homes not only
provide
limited power
for a short duration
but
cannot sustain the large starting currents
of motors or compressors. And invertors are energy guzzlers too. The
y consume nearly twice the

energy
to
charge their batteries after they have been u
sed. Even when not in use, they consumer at least one unit of
energy a day to keep the batteries charged.


That is, the cost of electricity to the consumer is more than
double of what he pays to the utility. The growing numbers of invertors whi
le serving
as a proxy for power

shortage
,

are over the years, contributing more and more towards the
power and energy
shortage th
ereby
aggravating the situation

rather than providing a relief
.



Privately owned
small
diesel generator
sets
is no better. First it i
s expensive to own a
diesel
generator
(DG)
and the running cost is becoming prohibitively
high
with
the
rising cost of diesel. The

DG sets
are rarely
loaded optimally

and therefore the running cost is
much more tha
n

what is normally visible.
In addition t
h
ey
produce all sorts of pollution and add to the green house emissions
.

The DG sets
or invertors are not
an
answer for
power
shortage.
The poor cannot afford it and suffer. Those who can afford it also suffer.
Something
different
is needed where the consum
er
, irrespective of whether he can afford or not,
need not
have to
invest upfront and yet get the benefits of not having
the
power cuts

in spite of power shortages
. This
precisely is the technological challenge of the day.


Let us keep this subject of dea
ling with energy and peak power shortages aside for some time and look at
other issues
that will take us to the new age. Let us look at AMI and Smart Grids. What are they and what do
they intend to achieve? Like the poets of yesteryears penning hymns in pr
aise of Gods and Goddesses, the
electricity visionaries of our modern times have conned the
term ‘
smart grid


and are painting it with
superlatives like

“…
a
fully automated

power delivery network that monitors

and controls every customer and node,
ensuri
ng
a two
-
way flow of electricity and information

between the power plant and the appliance,

and
all points in between. Its
distributed intelligence
, coupled
with broadband communications

and
4


automated control systems
, enables

real
-
time market transactions

and
seamless interfaces
among
people,

buildings, industrial plants, generation facilities, and the electric

network.

1



The smaller God
, the AMI

had gained popularity

before the Smart Grid
jargon caught on.
AMI
refers to
systems that measure, collect and
analyse energy usage, and interact with advanced devices such as
electricity meters

(and
water meters
)
, through various communication media either on request (on
-
demand)
or on pre
-
defined schedules.

It is essentially an architecture for automated, two
-
way communication between
a consumer’s meter and the utility. The goal of AMI is to provide the utility
with real
-
time data about power
consumption and allow consumers to make informed choices about their energy usage based on the price of
electricity.
AMI is seen as an important part of any
smart grid

initiative, and a key element of the AMI or
Smart Grid is actually a Smart Meter, perhaps much smarter than you and I
. ‘Smart’ is the buzzword of today
;
we need to be smarter to figure out all the superlatives it actually means!


Summarily,
t
he AMI or Smart Grid
, whatever its
mighty end
objective
s

might be,

uses energy meter
s

(which
we say will be smart)
with
two
-
way
communication and control abilities as a key component in managing
information and control of
power systems (or electricity dist
ribution)
.

There would also be a need of other
infrastructure like I
nformation and Communication Technologies, other sensors and control devices and so
on, but the meter


perhaps a smarter version of what we have today, will always remain as a key compone
nt.
So, a smart meter with two
-
way communication abilities will take us to our promised land of Smart Grid of
the future.

Now let us come back to today, and look into our customer’s areas of concern, that is assured electricity and
see whether it is possib
le for the meter to develop enough smartness not only to cater to the world of
tomorrow (the world of AMI and Smart Grid), but the need for today, that is, to provide electricity without
load
-
shedding even under the era of shortages.

The question I would l
ike to pose at this stage is, is load
-
shedding the only way to manage shortages? Isn’t
there a different way of managing electricity distribution without resorting to load
-
shedding? If that is
possible, then the number of invertors will not grow over the y
ears and much energy that would have
otherwise gone for charging the batteries can be saved
.

What
is this
new method?

If we have shortages of any kind, what do we do? We ration it, is it not? So, why can’t we
ration electricity

too?

Perhaps we could ration

electricity uniformly or even selectively. If that is possible, then we could totally
do away with load shedding while at the same time provide enough electricity
to the haves and have
-
nots.
Consumers can have their lights and fans. The ‘haves’ can

run
th
eir
important appliances like water pumps
,
refrigerators and air conditioners provided
t
he
y

remains within
their
rationed limits.
As peak power
shortages are less than 15%, demand rationing can address the problem without seriously impacting
consumer comfo
rt. But h
ow can this be done?

The singular interface where the energy exchanges hands between the utility and its customers is the energy
meter. If this energy meter is smart enough, it can measure and limit the load to desirable limits. If a customer
over
draws, the meter can disconnect itself. During periods of power shortage, depending on the extent of
shortage, meters can be programmed to deliver a percentage of the total sanctioned demand. Two
-
way
communication abilities can help the utility to selectiv
e
ly

allocate

or ration

demand at the time of peak power
shortage

and remove limitations when the power is surplus
.




1

US Department of Energy,
Grid 2030: A National Vision For Electricity's Second 100 Years
.: Department o
f
Energy, 2003.

5


The international power sector as well as the Indian power sector are familiar with meters with load
disconnect switches. Load disconnect swi
tches built in
side
meters have now become so very reliable that
advanced countries
are

having a mass roll
-
out of such meters
for their AMI applications
. An AMI project
covering more than 400,000 of such meters is currently being implemented in Victoria, Au
stralia. In India,
many of us are familiar with the load disconnect switches in prepayment meters. So why can
’t
we provide
consumers with load disconnect switches
to ration demand
for assuring uninterrupted power supply?

Load management using
load rationi
ng

concepts is a
ctually a
n effective way forward for Demand Side
Management
.

It will be a far more effective and
a
sure way to manage peak demands
at the time of shortages
as compared to influencing consumer behavior using TOD tariff
s.

And it will help in

conserving energy too, as
the energy consumed by the batteries of the innumerable invertors will also be saved.

Meters that will be needed for AMI or Smart Grids would anyway need a load control switch and two
-
way
communication. The load rationing concept

will therefore help rather than hinder the future. The information
and communication technologies brought into the grid through the R
-
APDRP route can be used
collaboratively to measure and manage area
-
wise demand too. In short, load rationing will compli
ment every
R
-
APDRP
initiatives.

The need of the
hour (and perhaps a need for the next ten years or so)
is to provide uninterrupted electricity
to consumers
. The
load rationing
concept
is a possible way forward. The key to implement load rationing is to
pro
vide consumers with smart meters that serve the purpose
together with serving
the larger objectives of a
Smart Grid. Let us look at such new thoughts and ideas to come up by different authors in this
conference
on
‘Enabling Smart Grids and Smart Metering’
to manage peak time flows and bring about financial efficiency
and environmental benefits while addressing key concerns of customers.

Technology is created for the common man. Technology exists for the sake of the common man. Utilities are
formed
to cater
to the common man. So let us
together think differently to
address
the electricity
concerns
of
the common man
.
The information highway laid by R
-
APDRP will bring the distribution substation data and
GIS cons
umer data to a

cen
tral data centre from where
are
a
-
wise temporal shortages and surpluses can be
determined. What will be needed is to link this information to the consumption data to decipher the
time
-
of
-
day demand of different areas and ration the demands at a consumer level to manage shortages.
Load
ra
tioning

is a new concept in Demand Side management which I would like to place on the house

today
.
That,
is a way forward for the Indian power sector.