In 2014, Poland’s utility industry leader Tauron Dystrybucja S.A. created a vision that included implementing a modern, user friendly electricity smart metering and headend system, called AMIplus. AMIplus would be a smart metering system allowing automatic processing, transmission and management of measurement data, as well as allowing two-way communication between the electricity meters and the distributor, while giving customers access to current information on electricity consumption.
Tauron Distribution commenced the rollout of its AMIplus Smart City Wroclaw project in 2015 in the City of Wroclaw, Poland. The initial large scale rollout of about 360,000 smart meters was completed during a four-year rollout (2015-2018). Subsequently, Tauron Distribution has expanded the system, which now includes more than 400,000 fully interoperable and interchangeable smart meters.
Mariusz Jurczyk, Director of the Sales Department of Distribution Services at TAURON Dystrybucja S.A, explained that the project focused on how to optimally use the data from the smart meters for business activities. “The main goal was to develop an advanced metering infrastructure data management platform – a secure and scalable tool that has a flexible architecture.
Its implementation would allow for effective use of data from the AMI and its analyses based on innovative mathematical and statistical models.”
The AMIplus Smart City Wroclaw project is a multi-vendor project initiated by the DSO, Tauron Distribution; and it is one of the largest AMI and smart metering deployments implemented in Poland to date. This project, which includes multiple meter suppliers, is also one of the largest interoperable smart grid projects in the world. The AMIplus project includes the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Head-End system (HES), installation of data concentrators and meters, and customer communication. The main technology is power line communications (PLC), based on the Open Smart Grid Protocol (OSGP) standard, which is a secure and fully interoperability model.
Tauron Distribution selected, via a public tender, a PLC solution based on OSGP, a device control networking protocol for smart grid applications, because of its proven performance and interoperability in smart grid projects around the world. The smart meter hardware was supplied by NES (Networked Energy Services), Apator and Mitsubishi Electric, and are all certified OSGP compliant. The smart meters provide interoperability by utilizing the same shared infrastructure, including data concentrators and the HES, for providing the smart grid and smart metering functionality required by the DSO. The data concentrators, which are provided by NES, communicate via OSGP based PLC with the various smart meters, and via a commercial mobile network operator, Orange, using LTE technology with the HES.
In addition, AMI data is provided to customers over a Home Area Network (HAN) using wireless M-Bus communications integrated within the smart meter. Tauron Distribution provides a dedicated app for customers, called “TAURON eLicznik”. The app presents customers with secure information and allows them to interact with their usage data to set specific savings and usage goals. The app is available from most common mobile operating systems stores including Google Play, iPhone Appstore, and the Windows Store. It can also be accessed as a web application via a web browser. The app provides:
- Information regarding their energy usage
- Ability for consumers to set savings and daily energy consumption goals
- Tools to compare energy usage from day-to-day
- Pre-payment and available credit information.
As with any solution involving telecommunications and IT systems, security was a major concern for the AMIplus project. Tauron Distribution utilizes a variety of security features incorporated into the OSGP standard, including data encryption using the AES128 standard, authentication, and security keys. All data transmission in the system is protected and encrypted, and since each meter has the ability to communicate the metering data to the Home Area Network (HAN) over a wireless M-Bus radio interface, that is encrypted as well.
Customer Communication Activities
Tauron Distribution determined that they would need to obtain customer support to ensure the AMIPlus project would be successful. Therefore, Tauron Distribution ran an information campaign that preceded the installation of the new smart meters to prepare customers for the changes. The campaign informed customers about the meter exchange process, and also educated Tauron customers to address their questions and to resolve any doubts about the project. Tauron Distribution considers this publicity and communication campaign essential to the success of any smart metering program, and it needs to include multiple distinct approaches and media.
Mariusz Jurczyk, Director of the Sales Department of Distribution Services at TAURON Dystrybucja S.A., expressed the importance of customer acceptance, “When rolling out a project of this nature, it is imperative to get customer support through informed, knowledgeable buy-in.”
A publicity and public information campaign is a major undertaking requiring considerable investment of time and money. For effective communication, Tauron Distribution executed many activities including:
- Prepared a communication strategy.
- Held meetings with local governments, media representatives, and customers to inform them about program.
- Trained installers how to inform customers about metering installations and AMIPlus.
- Prepared a list of questions and answers for helpline workers.
- Prepared information about smart metering as well as about installation procedure.
- Prepared and printed the information and instruction leaflets for customers, and printed posters with date and time of installations.
- Implemented a media campaign that included print media, the Internet, and public exhibitions.
Tauron Distribution utilizes several tools during both the installation and operating phases to optimize the performance of the network and its devices.
NES’ Grid Operations was installed as the user interface to the HES delivered by NES. It enables Tauron Distribution to securely and remotely manage the smart meters, and it delivers data analysis as well. It provides the statistical data, performs the network topology automation, enables the management of access rights, and collects the auditing and diagnosis data. It has a modular structure so that new functions can be added in the future.
Topology of the Low Voltage Network
The OSGP based technology provides detailed information about the low voltage network architecture by identifying which voltage phase is being used for the PLC transmission and connected to each meter. Using the Automated Topology Management (ATM) tool, the system searches automatically for the optimal communication links among meters. The ATM application tool presents all the connections between the meters as a network topology map. This information assists with trouble shooting, and the capabilities and features of the AMI System allow optimization of the communications paths to accommodate changes to the low voltage network due to switching of distribution power circuits.
During the deployment period, the system was required to reach a KPI greater than 99.5% availability of daily billing readings and load profile data within six days of the collection process. The system continues to perform well and achieve a high level of communication with the smart meters. The collected data consists of 4 values (active and reactive power for both import and export) in 15 minute energy profiles and energy billing data. In addition, meters provide event logs, and power quality logs and values. The data generated by this project exceeds 150 million measurements each day (more than 50 billion measurements per year) from devices within the distribution network.
In addition to the detailed load profile data, the AMI System provides Tauron Distribution with a variety of benefits, including:
- Remote configurations
- Advanced tamper and fraud detection
- Secure remote firmware upgrades
- Power outage and restoration information
- Remote disconnect and reconnect
- Power quality measurements including voltage, current, power factor
Tauron Distribution’s AMIplus Smart City Wroclaw project has achieved its goals and objectives, and is considered a successful model to use for future projects. Some of the key lessons and conclusions to be drawn from this project are:
- Providing information to customers about the project, new meter, and the new functionality is a critical success activity.
- Making the AMI interface more customer friendly and easy to use is needed to build confidence in the new technology.
- Selecting the right AMI technology and solution that delivers today’s required functionality and the ability to support new features in the future is essential for success.
- Always on security throughout the entire AMI System is and unconditional requirement.
- Providing a dedicated app for customers to use on their mobile devices and computers is important for building energy consumption awareness.
- Delivery deployment schedules requiring meter delivery a minimum of one month before installation allows the rollout to proceed smoothly.
- The availability of well qualified staff resources for the cleanup process has been a major success factor.
- The installation planning process is very important. Field workers need to be well qualified and trained, because their mistakes cost more due to a direct impact on the customer and the subsequent running of the AMI system.
- The value of meter interoperability and the fact that the system is successfully utilizing meters from multiple vendors within one system was a significant achievement.
Larry Colton - Director International Business Development
& Government Affairs at NES
TAURON Dystrybucja is the largest Distribution System Operator in Poland. The company serves approximately 5.6 million customers, to whom it supplies approximately 49.9 TWh of electricity annually.
The company is responsible for the development, operation and maintenance of power grids in southern Poland. TAURON Dystrybucja is part of the TAURON Group, which is one of the largest business entities in Poland.