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AMI Test Bed (EC-IoTTB2017-2001)

1 Lab Platform Name

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) test bed

2 Initiating Institute

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

3 Partners

Longshine Technology Co., Ltd.

Shenzhen Clou Electronics Co., Ltd.

4 Overview and Objectives

Smart grid is crucial for the development of power grids, and AMI forms the basis for implementing smart grid:

· To ensure the smooth development of the electricity industry, smart grid must be reliable, secure, economical, efficient, and friendly.

· Industry consists of AMI, Advanced Distribution Operation (ADO), Advanced Transmission Operation (ATO), and Advanced Asset Management (AAM).

· AMI construction is required for optimizing power grid structures, saving energy and reducing emissions, responding to requirements, and improving electric power quality.

AMI provides bidirectional communication between electric power companies and smart meters. It also provides electric power companies with accurate and real-time power consumption data and device usage status. This allows electric power companies to manage electricity users and devices, and these users can adjust their power consumption according to the price.

Power Line Communication (PLC) uses power lines to transmit data and media signals. PLC offers the following benefits: 

· High-frequency information is transmitted over power lines.

· There is no need to re-deploy network cables.

· Network construction and operation costs are reduced.

· PLC applies to smart grids, industrial control scenarios, IoT, and indoor networks.

Broadband and narrowband are classified according to the frequency and rate, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC):

Narrowband power line communication

- The frequency band is in the range of 3 kHz to 500 kHz.

- The communication rate is less than 1 Mbit/s.

- Communication technologies such as FSK, S-FSK, and OFDM are used.

Broadband power line communication

- The frequency band is in the range of 2 MHz to 30 MHz, or 2 MHz to 100 MHz.

- The communication rate is higher than 1 Mbit/s.

- OFDM is the main communications technology used.

The AMI test bed can use technologies such as wired PLC and wireless GPRS. In contrast to traditional narrowband PLC, broadband PLC can provide meter reading accuracy and real-time performance. The AMI test bed focuses on the application of PLC-IoT in meter reading scenarios and traditional wired or wireless technologies.

5 Application Scenarios

Technologies such as PLC-IoT, edge computing technology, and Big Data analytics are used to collect, analyze, and process power consumption data in real time. AMI is mainly used in the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: Distributed meter reading for residents in public transformer scenarios


Characteristics of transformer districts:

(1) Residents are widely dispersed and their houses are detached.

(2) There are a large number of electricity meters, of which nearly 500 are deployed in the largest transformer district.

(3) The transformer district is far away from the residents, and electricity theft and leakage often occur.

Scenario 2: centralized meter reading for residents in public transformer scenarios


Characteristics of transformer districts:

1. Residential areas are populated, and several households share one building with four to five floors.

(2) There are a large number of electricity meters, of which nearly 500 are deployed in the largest transformer district.


Scenario 3: metering for small-sized industrial and commercial users in public transformer scenarios


Characteristics of transformer districts:

(1) Customers in this scenario mainly include small-sized industrial and commercial users or a small number of residential users (such as power supply for villas). Three-phase power is obtained from the low-voltage side of the power distribution district of public transformers, and single-phase meters are used in this networking.  

(2) Users are in independent and widely distributed areas.

Scenario 4: metering of private transformers in large-sized mining scenarios


Characteristics of transformer districts:

(1) Customers in this scenario include large industrial users (mainly mining users). Large electrical devices are used, and there are many different voltage levels. The three-phase power is obtained from power transmission lines at the high voltage side.

(2) Factories are equipped with dedicated transformers. Factory users require high electricity usage and nonstop power supply, and are VIPs.

(3) Users are in independent and widely distributed areas.


6. Expected Outcome

The test bed uses PLC-IoT technology to collect, analyze, and process power consumption data, and provides 100% meter reading success rate and real-time analysis. It offers the following benefits:

(1) Reduces line loss, prevents electricity theft, and reduces loss for electric power companies.

(2) Accelerates electricity fee collection.

(3) Improves operational efficiency through automatic meter reading and IT.

(4) Improves user experience.


7 Business Benefits

In 2015, the AMI market was worth US$10.6 billion. In the future, markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, and Latin America will be the main AMI markets. About 1 billion AMI meters will be deployed in 2020.

The AMI solution has the following business benefits:

▶Reduces electricity theft through electricity theft detection.

▶Monitors changes in loss and provides data support through line loss analysis.

▶Reduces errors caused by manual meter reading and electricity fee collection, and accelerates electricity fee collection.

▶ Reduces management costs of the power system through remote automatic meter reading.

▶ Greatly enhances user satisfaction by facilitating interaction between electricity users and electric power companies.

▶ Improves the security and efficiency of the power system.

▶ Provides the basic network platform for large-scale Smart Home applications in the future.

▶ Lays a foundation for implementing multi-step tariffs to efficiently balance peak and off-peak loads, and reduces required investment in power grids.

▶ Is future-proof, adding new value-added services, such as smart campus, smart building, and smart street lighting.

The AMI solution brings great business benefits to the installed base markets and rapidly increasing markets, improves the operational efficiency of power providers, and provides opportunities for ICT vendors to upgrade their edge networks and master stations.

8 Social Benefits

AMI makes it possible for users to query the load of the power grid and electricity price information in real time, and enables them to participate in smart grid construction. With the support of the energy conservation policy, AMI uses electricity tariffs to dynamically adjust power consumption peaks, improves power consumption efficiency, prevents repeated construction of power facilities, and reduces required investment in power generation devices. The AMI solution can promote rapid development of smart grids and achieve the following benefits.

● Implements full collection of electricity meter data. 

From the perspective of management, there are obvious advantages to having a meter reading success rate of 100% as opposed to 99%. Manual meter reading is required even if data from less than 1% of electricity meters fails to be read. Additionally, data needs to be calculated and the database needs to be modified manually. This generates extra management costs. More manual operations can easily lead to more errors. Correcting these errors (especially historical errors) increases the difficulty of management.

Hi-PLC technology greatly improves the communication success rate and implements full collection of electricity meter data by analyzing the power grid environment and using leading anti-interference and anti-attenuation technologies.

● Achieves full fee control.

In addition to having the same requirements as the full collection service, the full fee control service also has requirements for real-time communication, requiring that communication is guaranteed at all times.

PLC-IoT technology effectively improves the PLC communication quality in terms of the physical layer design, providing the basis for implementing the fee control service.

The fee control success rate and communication duration depend on the stability of physical-layer communication and the number of communication retransmissions, that is, they depend on the system's real-time adaptation to channel changes. PLC-IoT technology can provide stable physical-layer communication and reduce retransmission count due to errors.

● Solves the problem of line loss in the transformer district.

In terms of the calculation of transformer district line loss, the narrowband solution has low meter reading success rate. In some situations, data of all electrical meters cannot be obtained within the period of daily frozen data reading, and transformer district line loss cannot be calculated.

PLC-IoT technology provides a higher communication rate and lower signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). A concentrator is installed near the transformer district meter to meet requirements for real-time line loss measurement.

● Solves the problem of signal crosstalk between multiple transformers.

Crosstalk in the transformer district complicates the narrowband carrier solution. Although transformers in different transformer districts are isolated to reduce the crosstalk, signals still interfere with each other due to parallel lines, ground cables, and space radiation.

PLC-IOT technology uses automatic coordination technology to ensure meter reading is uninterrupted without the need for manual intervention.

● Supports intelligent power consumption and energy efficiency management services.

PLC-IoT technology provides bidirectional, real-time, high-speed, and secure communication channels. PLC-IoT technology provides a communication rate as high as 2 Mbit/s, far higher than that provided by narrowband PLC.

PLC-IoT technology ensures that the AMI system can obtain the real-time power consumption data of each terminal on the live network accurately and in detail. It collects, analyzes, and evaluates the power distribution status from multiple dimensions to avoid overload and quality deterioration of power devices.

In addition, capability of PLC-IoT to provide highly reliable communication ensures that power consumption exception records can be queried through the bidirectional real-time interactive service of smart meters. This makes it possible to find the device or system that has high energy consumption or runs abnormally. PLC-IoT guides energy optimization scheduling, and achieves energy configuration optimization and three-phase power balance.

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