The unprecedented influx of technology has made smart grids resilient. Such a rapidly transforming landscape has made meter data management systems (MDMS) an essential tool for handling the huge volumes of data generated through automated metering. This system essentially consolidates disparate metering and consumption-related data to create useful and accurate information that can be readily leveraged for quick billing purposes, profitable revenue planning and better customer care. An MDMS is also used to derive meaningful results using data analytics algorithms, which can help utilities in undertaking demand response, detecting meter tampering, managing outages and ensuring theft protection. Moreover, MDMS is the core component of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and goes a long way in providing 24×7 reliable and quality power to all.
MDMS features and architecture
A common MDMS feature is its ability to house a detailed virtual map of the electric infrastructure components – meters, transformers, distribution circuits, substations and their interconnections. The MDMS architecture has three layers. The first is the communication stack, which includes radio frequency, transmission control protocol/internet protocol and a hand-held unit (HHU). The second layer includes an application that takes data as input, known as the head-end system. The third layer stores the data, analyses it and creates reports. The analysis includes a wide spectrum of topics such as meter tampering, loss reduction, demand report and ways to curtail demand or demand aggregation.
At each level, the System Average Interruption Duration Index/ System Average Interruption Frequency Index is calculated based on the meter data, starting from a single-phase consumer to an extra high voltage consumer. However, an important factor is the size of data that can be used in MDMS. If the system is overloaded with data, chances of it becoming slow are higher. The performance of the algorithm is based on the input data, so that there are more chances of the algorithm being affected due to a large data size. Therefore, the data needs to be filtered in terms of its importance depending on how it would contribute to the aggregate value.
Advantages of MDMS
Improving customer service
MDMS helps in undertaking business analytics and deciphering meaningful trends from the meter data. It provides valid, complete and uniform data for improving customer service, operating consumer portals, and undertaking distribution planning and tariff analysis. During a power disruption, MDMS helps improve a discom’s operations through quick response and better asset management. MDMS is also able to remotely issue generated connect/disconnect service commands for an effective date/ time to the appropriate customer meter or group of customers based on conditions such as default, fraud, technical failure, construction works and shut-off by customer request.
Better outage management
MDMS plays a significant role in improving the efficiency of the outage management system (OMS). It helps in eliminating unnecessary field visits by filtering false outages. In fact, outages can often be resolved even before the customer is affected. This mitigates the problem of the field crew despatch process upon the occurrence of an outage. MDMS also restricts unnecessary outage notifications sent to the OMS, using intelligent filtering. The system filters outage events that have been confirmed at the feeder level, validates restorations and pinpoints nested outages.
Advanced billing determinants
Improved consumer billing is another important feature of MDMS. It processes and stores data and, therefore, serves as a data repository. It forms a vital component of validation, estimation and editing of meter reading. It validates the meter reading, estimates invalid or missing readings, issues alerts in case of any errors in the meter reading, etc. Further, MDMS is able to process and aggregate meter data for all types of billing including cumulative billing, time-of-use billing and net metering billing to calculate “billing determinants” to be used in SAP ISU for billing a customer.
Better outage management
Further, MDMS manages the commands from downstream. It also helps in real-time event management and notifies voltage anomalies, outage/restoration and tamper. Besides, data gathered from the system helps in conducting historical/ predictive analysis. This helps in maintaining secure and comprehensive information to achieve business objectives.
In today’s environment, with faster data proliferation than ever before, the key to managing data in a positive way is to focus on actionable intelligence. To that end, MDMS provides an essential service within AMI – effective integration with reduced infrastructure complexity. It integrates any number of different Automatic meter reading (AMR) systems, each with its own processing schedule, into a consistent, validated data set.