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Towards a smart grid

Applying information and communication technologies (ICT) to build a ‘smarter’ grid will give you more dynamic ‘real-ime’ flows of information on the network and more interaction between your suppliers and consumers, as well as the potential to offer new services that give your customers more information, control and choice.

Initially focusing on the electricity system, smart grids will provide utilities with detailed intelligence about supply and demand, enabling you to adjust capacity more efficiently and reliably.

This improves network and capacity planning, for example, by enabling:

  • better leverage of lower-cost, and
  • better performing plants to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gases

It is also expected to reduce operating and maintenance costs.

Geographic information (GI) has an important part to play in the smooth transition towards a smart grid system by enabling you to effectively manage your ever-growing databases, assets and network fluctuations caused by changes in customer use. In this way, geographic information systems (GIS) can provide the functionality for energy companies to optimise the balance between capital and operational expenditure, whilst also taking into consideration cost effectiveness, flexibility and supply security.

A smart way to manage maintenance and networks

Most outage management systems (OMS) identify outage locations using sophisticated prediction engines based on customer telephone calls. In contrast, an OMS linked to a smart grid will use a sensor network for a faster, more accurate, automated response and, if your utility company is also able to precisely locate each meter, you can proactively alert your customers to disruptions in supply. Should a peak power emergency occur, you can also tell affected smart meters to shut off selected loads as appropriate.

A solid model of all utility assets, including their condition and relationship to each other, to customers and to the telecommunications systems driving the smart grid, is therefore vital. Accurate, timely GI provides the key to ensuring that the smart grid is able to make these automated decisions using reliable, up to date information.

The rollout will help to deliver a net benefit to the nation of £7.3 billion over the next twenty years. It is crucial that the industry gets the groundwork right by delivering a national premises and address identifier to ensure these benefits are realised.

By using GI to roll out smart meters, your utilitiy company will be laying a solid foundation for an integrated, affordable, sustainable and secure energy supply.

For a location-based solution to help you roll out smart meters, please contact us:

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