Business Drivers

Grid Reliability and Efficiency

Utility customers and regulatory bodies are demanding reliable services and sustainability, and utilities need to understand how the low voltage grid and micro-generation can contribute to meeting this objective.

NES solutions can provide a new layer of management information allowing utilities to spot potential problems before they impact customers and efficiency. Using the Patagonia Energy Applications Platform, utilities can also visualise and analyse both the latest and historic supply quality information throughout their low voltage grid to identify where they may have supply outages and degradation, and where equipment may be running inefficiently due to mis-configurations or mis-use. 

Capacity and Supply Constraints

Utilities need to manage their capacity and are looking at ways to deliver more energy to consumers whilst keeping infrastructure investment focused on strategic initiatives. But, a lack of information means that utilities often invest where it is not necessary to do so. Opportunities to leverage under-utilised capacity are usually not currently identified.

NES solutions can provide utilities with detailed information about voltage and power quality within the low-voltage grid. This allows utilities to complement their medium and high voltage SCADA solutions with capacity utilisation information from the transformer out to the consumer. This is where the Patagonia Energy Applications platform comes in, allowing utilities to visualise and analyse both the latest and historic supply quality information associated with their low voltage grid to identify where they have under-utilized capacity to fuel growth without investment, and where they have genuine constraints and need additional capacity to allow growth.

Government Mandates

Utilities are looking for a smart grid solution, which will help them respond quickly to new government mandates directing how they supply energy, how they regulate its use, how they bill for it, and how they interact with customers.

NES solutions can be remotely updated quickly, efficiently and securely without human intervention in the field to implement new configurations, new metering functions, new capabilities and new security features. Utilities can then use this flexibility to innovate and create capabilities which go beyond the immediate requirements of the regulatory body, allowing them to become an influencer in their market and drive focus on energy efficiency, operational efficiency and customer experience. 

Operational Improvements

Utilities are under pressure to reduce the operational costs they are facing, and this is driving utilities to look for operational improvements. With their sophisticated management and SCADA solutions, the medium and high voltage networks are efficient, but the low voltage network does not have sufficient management tooling to allow utilities to make insightful and relevant operational decisions.

The NES solution can reliably and securely communicate large volumes of topology, configuration and power/voltage status information, which can be integrated into back-end business decision making tools and SCADA platforms, to help utilities make operational decisions.

Using Patagonia Energy Applications Platform’s unique network topology discovery feature, utilities can gain a far more accurate and up-to-date view of the low-voltage grid topology and status, and then expose this into analytics platforms to better direct their operations teams with more and more up-to-date information.

Clean Energy Integration

New sources of micro-generation are challenging utilities because they change the profile of energy flows in the low-voltage grid. They are making the grid more de-centralised, and pushing more importance into the low-voltage grid, where utilities have little monitoring and control capabilities. Utilities need to understand how the energy flow is changing, and then use that to re-engineer portions of the low-voltage grid that will be negatively affected by these changes.

 The NES solution can give utilities visibility of positive and negative energy flows from the consumer and other micro-generation sources, and the impacts of these on the energy flows within the low-voltage grid.

The Patagonia Energy Applications Platform can help utilities understand both current and past trends to build a perspective of future demand on the low-voltage grid. Integrate this with demographic and other data sets to gain insight as to the long-term changes that utilities will need to accommodate as local clean energy generation grows and the grid becomes increasingly de-centralised.

Loss Reduction

Utilities are aware that saving just a few fractions of a percent of energy can lead to massive savings, but they don’t have visibility of the sources of technical and non-technical losses within the low voltage grid. Utilities are also aware that this is the more vulnerable part of the grid to losses than the medium and high voltage grids, because it is largely unmonitored.

 The NES solution gives the end consumer better visibility of power and voltage consumption and within the low-voltage grid to the transformer, which allows utilities to identify where they are suffering from a drain of energy.

The Patagonia Energy Applications Platform helps utilities visualise and analyse this information to help them pin-point where technical losses are excessive and can be resolved, and where they should focus their efforts to identify and reduce non-technical losses.

Consumer Engagement

Utilities are worried that they have little visibility of the end-consumer’s service. Utilities typically have to wait for consumers to complain, and only then can they respond to try to resolve problems. Utilities want to identify and resolve issues before they become customer service impacting or before the customer is aware of the problem.

The NES solution allows a utility to see a wide range of consumer power and voltage quality indicators, reliably and securely communicated back to its management systems.

The Patagonia Energy Applications platform is used to identify outages based on communications with their AMI infrastructure, and, using the topology information they have gained through the NES solution, utilities can identify the wider impacts from a probable fault. The applications help utilities become more aware of the customers and their dependency on energy, and prioritise problem resolution on the social impacts of problems as well as just the technical nature of the problem.

Monetising the Grid

Utilities are looking at smart grid as the means to monetise their investment in the grid infrastructure and they need a reliable and secure solution to help them reduce dependency on manual meter reading and reduce revenue leakage through human error, fraud and theft.

NES provides utilities with a foundation of smart metering infrastructure underpinned by highly secure and reliable communications services, leveraging a utility’s own grid for information transmission, to ensure that its meter-2-cash process runs smoothly and efficiently, with minimal need for human intervention or opportunity for human error or fraud. The system enables integration with other utility meters (i.e. gas, water, heat meters) to bring back that usage information to further stream-line the meter-2-cash process. NES’ Patagonia Energy Applications Platform can also help utilities extend their smart metering infrastructure to provide important extra capabilities to ensure the appropriate quality of supply to consumers.  The platform allows utilities to gain greater insight into the customer experience and even reduce revenue leakage due to service disruption. 

Service Innovation

Utilities know that the energy industry is changing and they need to innovate to stay relevant to its consumers. Utilities also understand that the Smart Meter is their presence at the consumer and they want that to be the foundation for new and exciting services which focus on energy consumption, life-style, smart home, rather than simply being a distributer of energy.

Using NES smart meters as a communications node, utilities can connect to a wide variety of smart devices inside the home.

The Patagonia Energy Applications Platform, on the other hand, helps utilities to automate how energy is brokered within the low voltage grid; balancing local micro-generation supply with periodic usage profiles. In addition, the applications facilitate using the on-board intelligence within the AMI infrastructure, in the field, to create new applications, which are specific to the consumer and business communities they serve.