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Echelon Introduces New Smart Meter Software

07 Jun 2012

Echelon has introduced new Control Operating System (COS) software for its smart meter portfolio. Smart meters from Echelon and the company’s Open Smart Grid Protocol (OSGP) meter partners can be upgraded in the field to function as multi-parameter grid sensors as well as billing devices.

Echelon reports that these smart meters are the industry’s first to separate billing data from grid power quality data so that they can be read on independent time cycles. “By separating these data types, the utility can collect relevant power quality information on an as-required basis, instead of collecting large volumes of billing and operational data from each meter on every read cycle. This enables the utility’s communications infrastructure and analytics applications to minimize the volume of data collected and processed, while increasing its usefulness – ultimately improving service reliability at lower cost.”
Project manager for Danish utility NRGi, Poul Berthelsen, says, “Echelon smart meters are an essential piece of our smart grid solution. The use of the meter as a grid sensor gives us a unique opportunity to collect measurements for analysis of any problems in the network without affecting the 15-minute interval measurements we use as the basis to bill our customers. Today, in order to avoid a data deluge from collecting power quality information every 15-minutes, we only collect power quality measurements from the low voltage grid after we detect or have customer reports of problems in the network. However, with a separate data set dedicated for power quality history and troubleshooting data collected on a different cycle than the billing data, we’ll be able to review the previously captured data immediately and decrease the time and cost that it used to take for us to conduct analysis in the field.”

Varun Nagaraj, Echelon senior vice president of Product Management and Marketing ,adds: “As smart grids scale to incorporate more users, more distributed generation, and other applications like street lighting and electric vehicle charging, it will become increasingly important to collect and analyze power quality information in the distribution network, such as active and reactive energy and power, per phase voltage current and power, sine phase angle, power factor, frequency, etc. in near real-time. Utilities need to have a plan to deal with this potential data deluge. We are pleased to be the first to offer smart meters that provide utilities the ability to access only the power quality data they need, and when they need it. This approach will simplify the ‘big data’ challenge and let the utilities improve service reliability and maximize the life of grid assets.”