Case Study - Smart Meter

The Customer

The customer is a South Africa based Utility company. They manage transmission – distribution and billing to consumer for electrical energy.

THE PROBLEM

The conventional method of manual reading of meters and billing and data records based on this manual reading was a big pain point that needed to be addressed

THE ANALYSIS

  • An in-depth analysis was done to study the existing system, and to see where electronics and automation would be most beneficial, and where a new solution was most needed
  • Similarly, the billing management, data recording/ analysis and consumer and service communication systems were also studied for identification of the need for improvement
  • To future-proof the system, electronics platforms and modules were studied, and their availability confirmed well into the future right from the manufacturing source

THE SOLUTION

  • Developed prototype of ZigBee based Smart Energy Meter for residential single-phase customer
  • Developed Gateway to communicate and store data locally with multiple meters in mesh network and send/ receive data to/from server via GPRS communication
  • Incorporated reliable and relevant access control technologies and its vendors to introduce electronics in customer’s product line
  • Developed hardware platform that can have future upgradable components and technologies
  • Setup complete electronics production facility
  • Designed MDAS, MDM, Command Centre and User Interface for admin as well for consumers
  • Features such as automatic bill payment reminders, remote disconnection of service, and periodic consumption alerts were incorporated into the solution to further address pain points

THE OUTCOME

  • Access to real time data and uses pattern based on historical recorded data
  • Transparency and accuracy in billing amount
  • Reduction in ‘costs to serve’ for data collection and recording
  • More effective Grid Management
  • Effectiveness in payment collection
  • Effectiveness in reduction of costs by increasing energy consumption during off-peak cheaper tariff periods. Better uses of TOD.

Technology Areas

  • Accurate Measurement and Automated Data Recording
  • Automated Metering Infrastructure
  • Meter Data Acquisition System
  • Meter Data Management
  • Head End Software
  • Internet of Things
  • Common Command Centre
  • Billing Platform and Payment Gateway
  • Consumer Portal – Web/ Mobile

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Smart Meter

Hardware

  • A total of 7 PCBs – all double sided PTH
  • Schematics, BOM, Layouts & Gerbers: PADS from Mentor Graphics
  • Smartmeter – Teridian 71M6511 SoC
  • Telegesis Zigbee module with external antenna
  • Gateway – Microchip 16 bit general purpose microcontroller
  • GPS module from Navisys
  • Customized segmented LCD for Smartmeter

Firmware

  • Code in C
  • IDE: Keil, MPLAB

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