Nepal Electricity Authority has started implementing Smart Electricity meters in Kathmandu. The implementation comes into effect as a part of a project called Kathmandu Valley Smart metering project (KVSM). Now, NEA will put smart electricity meter for the new electrification request. NEA Smart meter will be the biggest deployment use case of IoT/M2M in our country.
The purpose of the Smart electricity meter project is to have instant benefits like reduced meter reading costs, enable tariffs based on time/load and Cut Aggregate Technical and Commercial loss (AT&C).
Benefits of Smart Meters
Here are some of the other benefits of Smart Meters.
Improved network visibility and hence reduced or deferred network reinforcement costs
Better management of power outages
Improved connection processes
Reduced costs for micro-generation customers
Access to the benefits offered by demand side response
Improved customer service across a range of routine activities, and
Increase Customer satisfaction
Under the project, NEA has asked the supplier to install, test, commission and maintain the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in Kathmandu Valley. AMI incorporates the smart meters along with the Information and Communication Infrastructure. It is beneficial for both the customers of Single Phase and three phase meters. NEA Smart meter pilot project includes 10,000 such smart meters. After which, there will be the installation of around 1 lakh smart electricity meters.
The smart meters enables the real-time data monitoring of the energy usage at each home/business. They can even connect or disconnect the electricity supply remotely. The smart meters are also called TOD meters (Time of Day). Which allows charging the electricity rate differently at the different time. They can perform meter readings remotely without the need to send NEA employees to customers home. The data is collected to the central server of the system through GSM/GPRS connectivity. The Smart meters have an RF module to send the data to the server at regular intervals.
Customers can also view the consumption details including current and the historical data, either through a web portal or a mobile app. NEA can also deploy prepaid billing where the system reduces the available credit based on consumption. For this, the system needs to continuously monitor the energy consumption of the prepaid meter, also sending low credit notifications. Currently, they perform billing of the most meters as post-paid where the meter readers visit customer premises for the manual billing.
How Smart meter works?
Smart Meters are the electronic device that replaces the traditional meters for several utilities. They have an RF module inside the meters which sends the recorded digital information to the server through several connectivity options like WiFi, non-cellular IoT (Zigbi, Lora, Sigfox and more) and cellular connectivity (2G, 3G, 4G and beyond).
The data collected through many layers are put in a centralized server with the ability to do the analytics. The meter data management system will analyze the data for several reports or prediction of the loads, customer consumption details, location/fault tracking e.t.c.
In the case of cellular connectivity, they put a SIM card in the RF module of the meter. Using the 2G or 3G or 4G connectivity, the smart meter sends the usage data to the server periodically.
Current State of NEA Smart meter
NEA has partnered with the government-owned telco, NTC (Nepal Telecom) to provide the SIM card for the cellular data connectivity. Till now, NEA has already installed around 100 such smart meters inside Kathmandu Valley. They have successfully tested and commissioned those smart meters here with more data analytics and interface to come in future. The number of Smart Metered electricity supply will increase along with much more advanced features to integrate.
With the entry of such Smart meters in Nepal, we can say the IoT era has begun in Nepal. More and more use cases for IoT will result in automation and efficient service. Mass utilization of vehicle tracking, more utility meters, Smart homes will gradually take the IoT industry to a new level. Hope the Telcos and Service providers are ready to cater data for this kind of devices efficiently.