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  • Writer's pictureAlibek Jakupov

Smart Grids Data Processing Analysis [Step 11]

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Suppliers of intelligent energy metering and control systems

The largest suppliers of smart metering and control systems for electricity consumption are: Siemens AG, Techem GmbH (Germany), Enel SpA (Italy), PG&E (USA), Ontario Energy Board (Canada), ESC (Australia), Elektromed (Turkey), Energomera and Incotex (Russia). In particular, the Automative Smart Metering System from Siemens is designed to collect data from water, heat, gas and electricity meters with the transfer of information from devices via radio channel at 868 MHz to wireless hubs. It is estimated that the system is currently the cheapest and most advanced in the world.

Hubs automatically regulate the reading and transmission of information to the consumer. One hub has a modem in its device, which sends data to the client via GSM/GPRS network to the Internet address in the desired format. Hubs and components have power for 10 years. Gas and electric meters have special intelligent modules IFS data III for sending data via radio channels to the concentrators.

Smart counters from Enel SpA are electronic devices with built-in two-way communication capability, with improved counting and control mechanisms, with built-in software-controlled shutdown and rigid design. These meters send and receive data over a low-voltage electrical line using Echelon Corporation's own technology with Echelon Hubs, which in turn share IP protocol information with Enel's corporate servers.

The system provides extensive functionality, including the ability to turn on/off consumers remotely, read and monitor data collected by the meter over a period of time, emergency notification in case of emergency, detection of unauthorized use of electricity, regulation of the amount of electricity that the client can receive at a certain time, and remote change of tariff plans of the meter: from credit to prepaid, as well as from single to multi-tariff.

SCADA concept and Smart Grid system

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) is a software package used for supervisory control and data acquisition in real time and solving the following tasks:

  • Information exchange between the server (or computer) and industrial controllers in real time

  • Data Processing

  • Human Machine Interface, visualization of received data.

  • Alarm system

  • Process analysis

  • Connection with external DBMS

When using this system, the dispatcher receives data from the electronic display system and has the ability to manage remote objects through telecommunications systems or controllers.

Channel of communication between key SCADA components

Unlike Smart Grid, where the use of high-end metrology devices with a large amount of integrated internal memory allows for rapid reprogramming, and therefore requires certain skills from system developers, commercial SCADA solutions for creating application systems offer a ready-made set of solutions. If in certain conditions it saves time and resources, then in most cases this feature severely limits the functionality of the system. And in the conditions of rigid standards, (as for example standards of North America), possibility of reprogramming of system is critical, as the municipal organizations can need specific decisions. SCADA, as a rule, is a centralized solution that uses the control and management of a complex of systems, with the participation of a person. Information collection begins at the terminal controller level (RTU) in the form of meter readings. Then the information is formatted and the operator of the dispatching service makes decisions on the basis of the received data - to correct or interrupt the standard control of means.

In the Smart Grid, the voltage and current readings of different phases in power supply monitoring systems are monitored with the help of analog-to-digital converters. Typically, the digital signal processor calculates the power factor values from the measurements and evaluates the parameters of the system itself (active, reactive, total energy). The operator controls the system only for specific tasks.

In many cases, human control is the most reliable solution, as the conditions of the task often require nontrivial solutions. However, in power supply networks, where the control of entire settlements is carried out, the autonomous operation of the system and automatic interaction of components is the most appropriate approach. In this case, the advantages of Smart Grid, where the system architecture allows for data analysis and automatic troubleshooting, increase significantly.

SCADA-based systems are vulnerable to attack by attackers. When transmitting data over dedicated networks, Smart Grid power lines use the AES-128 encryption mechanism for security at the MAC level, and mesh routing (mesh routing protocol) to find the optimal path between network nodes. However, it cannot be claimed that Smart Grid is a more secure alternative to SCADA, as it is possible to secure both types of systems by observing common information security principles.

When creating automated power supply networks, cost is a key factor determining the economic efficiency of the solution. Smart Grid, being a more affordable alternative SCADA, provides metering, consumption monitoring and management via Internet, power line or cellular networks.

In power supply networks where monitoring, data exchange, meter data collection, load balancing, real time resource allocation are required, Smart Grid is the best solution. However, SCADA, as a powerful supervisory control tool, can be a supporting solution in some cases. In an integrated system, the capabilities of both systems will need to be combined.


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To be continued

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