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AMM data communication must also meet future needs Helen Sähköverkko combines various technologies

More and more technology related to efficient energy use is being installed in buildings. Moreover, in the future, consumers will also become electricity generators, supplying their excess energy to the distribution network.

Although such a vision may seem distant, it will start becoming a reality during the next ten years – in other words, during the life-cycle of the automatic meter management (AMM) systems currently being purchased. This is why any data communication solution selected now should be flexible and of sufficient capacity to ensure high performance in the face of a growing task load.

“Future data communication performance has become an important factor as energy companies have gained experience of various solutions. We are already seeing signs of a need for the daily collection of hourly values for active and reactive power in both directions, of values in tariff registers and of power outage data,” lists Mika Sohlman, Product Manager in Aidon Oy.

The new reliability requirements envisage the need to obtain the data mentioned by Sohlman by six o’clock in the morning, from 100,000 customers, with 98% reliability. In accomplishing this, separate cabling would prove reliable – but impossible to install in residences located in older blocks of flats. In the case of wireless data communication, interference may begin to occur after trees grow or new buildings are erected.

The best solution is to combine various data communication technologies, as has been the case in the automatic meter management system in the Helsinki downtown area. There, data communication between meters is performed either using an RS485 route cable or MeshNET radio connection. The meter readings are then transferred via GPRS to Aidon’s Gateware reading software, which processes them further for the business systems.

These smart meters consist of electricity meters equipped with a data communications route, a system module and a remote controlled circuit breaker. The AMM system programmes the meters automatically in connection with installation through a remote connection. The same connection is used when updating the meter software.

“Thanks to the new system, the Call Centre will be able to connect electricity within a couple of seconds during a customer call, whereas previously, the customer had to wait for the installer’s visit. Furthermore, we have already used remote updates to ensure the consistency of software in meters,” says Mika Nousiainen, Measurement Manager of Helen Sähköverkko Oy.

“Two thirds of the 120,000 new meters in downtown Helsinki have already been installed and the mass installation phase will be completed in February. This data communication flexibility also includes meters, given that the next few years will see a transfer to 3G connections. At that point, however, replacing the master meters’ data communication module will be all that is required,” explains Nousiainen.

For more information, please contact:
Mika Nousiainen, Metering Manager, Helen Sähköverkko Oy, tel. +358 (0)9 6172895
Mika Sohlman, Product Manager, Aidon Oy, tel. +358 (0)50 5161970
www.helen.fi  www.aidon.fi