The core business of utilities is the sale of energy, and most of the net profit is concentrated in a few quantity of customers denominated as C&I (Commercial & Industrial) market, they have a very important volume of energy consumption, although they are on dispersed geographical areas.

While doing the feasibility analysis to deploy an AMI System for C&I market, besides the consumption, it is necessary to consider:

  • Low investment for C&I Smart Meters acquisition, Head-End System and Data Networks Devices.
  • Commercial goals such as: leak and energy theft detection, to avoid distortion in the balance sheet (purchase – sale).
  • Faster and more economical deployment.
  • Low operations costs
  • Cost-Effective:
    • The maintenance or data network use.
    • Meter reading

The data networks are an important part in AMI platforms. The quality, bandwidth, security, deployment capacity, maintenance, ease to use enable technology manufactures to create new competitive advantages that help utilities in their business line. An example of a fundamental feature in an AMI system is to get alarm readings about electric service quality to detect leak and energy theft.

Energy leak or theft from C&I consumer will cause financial losses equivalent to hundreds or thousands residential customers, but the difference is that legal processes to recover the lost in many countries have the same procedure and cost for C&I customers and residentials.

The cellular carriers have coverage in almost the 100% of the regions where the C&I customers do their economic activity, and while analysing some benefits of AMI system can offer, the next chart could help the utilities to select a AMI platform that use a optimum data network to accomplish the most important objectives.

Coincidentally, you can see in the chart that cellular networks are available and ready to use in all areas where C&I customers develop their economic activity.

PROBLEMS USING CELLULAR NETWORKS FOR METERING APPLICATIONS.

When the utilities are thinking of using a cellular network in order to read power meters remotely they must consider for their analysis the following:

C&I customers are on very dispersed geographical areas, the utility power meters are fixed in customers facilities, and just one cellular carrier signal strength is not able to reach all these power meters.

Cellular carriers are running only 2G in some cells, and others run 2G/3G.  Then, AMI solution that uses cellular technology needs the capability to transfer large metering data with the same performance, when it is transferring in both 2G or 3G.

In some cases, LATAM utilities have tried to deploy remote metering systems using standard cellular modems and multivendor head-end system software that don’t know the cellular networks behavior, therefore utilities have had unsatisfying experiences, creating distrust in cellular networks use for AMI systems.

The problem occurs because this scenario is not an integral solution. Utilities are responsible for integrating part by part: traditional Head-End System, Standard Modems, SIM cards, Smart Meters, etc.

Moreover, utilities need to do other operative and control issues coming within administration of metering network such as: the assignation of each SIM / IP address to each power meter, model, type, etc. All these parameters must be configured in the Head-End System software and operators have many tasks. It needs too much time and requires much attention, with the possibility of human mistakes.

AMI BY EASYMETERING USING CELLULAR 2G/3G

EASYMETERING is an Advanced Metering Infrastructure platform for C&I customers and it is based on global cellular network.

EASYMETERING brings the cellular signal strength of more than one cellular carrier to the C&I Smart Meters using one embedded SIM provided from factory.

The solution includes:

  • C&I Cellular Smart Meters (ANSI & IEC) including SIM.
  • Service Pack Plan:
    • Cellular Data Access to more than one cellular carrier per country, providing private services using APN / VPN, and
    • Head-End System (SaaS, Software as a service):
      • Network monitoring using maps interface.
      • Web application for Metering Data Visualization.
      • Capability of thousands of simultaneous connections of Smart Meters including load and instrumentation profiles.
      • Meter automatic registration in Meter Data Base, including models, IP address, and other parameters.
      • Automatic inventory of electronic serial numbers of meters, SIM, AMI cellular module, IMEI, etc.
      • Online metering alarms including quality of electricity service in the site.
      • Cellular events and alarms.

The solution saves many preoperative, operating, administrative and inventory processes and contract and support communications with cellular companies.