Metal Pipes

Meter Data Collection solution for an Electric Utility

Customer Information

The customer is a Public Electric Utility serving more than 1 million residential accounts and 80,000 industrial customers. For some industrial customers, the company maintains advanced electric meters which records details like power profile, time of usage information etc. For other industrial customers and residential customers, meter data is manually recorded. For residential customers also, the company has started installing smart meters for automatic meter data collection. The electric utility was looking for a mobile solution that will help them with the following : 

  •  Tracking of all meters installed at residential and industrial customers

  •  Recording of meter reading and data collection for the simple electric meters as well as advanced electric meters 

  •  Data collection from the Power Quality Analyzers

  •  System that will help them to easily migrate to 100% Automated Meter Reading in future

  •  System that will help to track the repair history of the metering devices
     

Problems Faced

The company has taken up a very big initiative to implement Automatic Meter Reading systems in the next 5 to 6 years. But they have so many different meters from many vendors. They need a system that will help them make a smooth transition in a phased manner. The company uses meters from suppliers like Siemens, ABB, GE and Rochester Instrument Systems.  They maintain the electric distribution network comprising of many sub-stations, distribution transformers etc. 

To study the performance of the electrical network , they install power quality monitoring devices temporarily at various points. Some of these devices have zigbee interface and they were looking for solutions that incorporate handheld devices so that the handhelds can be used for data collection, meter reading and asset tracking functions. In addition to this, they wanted to use the handhelds for manually recording the metering data for the residential and industrial customers. 
 

Solution Offered 

XCELtracker  asset tracking application framework was offered for this project. XCELtracker maintains the database of all metering devices, customer info and location details of all meters. At present the meters have barcode tags and in future they will be tagged with passive RFID tags. This will facilitate a handheld device with barcode /RFID reader, to be used for auto identification of the meters. 

Once the field user logs in using the handheld, the system will communicate with the server and download the relevant data in his/her device depending on the privileges of the user. The field user will be able to the handheld device for accessing the metering info, customer info etc. Meter data can be entered directly by the field crew members. The system captures the user ID, time/date stamps along with the customer info and the metering data. The client uses a home grown legacy application which is used for customer billing. The metering data is transferred to their application using a web services interface offered by Indusmation. Using the zigbee interface, data from the power quality analyzers can be directly transferred to the handheld device and then used for analysis purposes. The power quality data will be transferred from the handheld to a central database server. The electric utility has about 75 field technicians who perform the field work. They have a third party application that is used for scheduling the field activities. The Operations manager will assign various field tasks to be executed by specified field technicians. The tasks scheduled by the Operations group are directly delivered to the field technicians. 

The server application is a web based application. This application maintains the full system database and has modules for data visualization as well as reporting. The system  provides an executive  dash board interface as well.  
 

Benefits

  • Elimination of unproductive paper work. 

  • Visibility of inventory, working condition of all meters 

  • Improvements in the productivity since scheduling and delivery of work schedules are automated.    

  • Audit trail is available for all user activities, such as equipment inspection and maintenance history  

  • Paper based meter data collection was highly inefficient and inaccurate. The new solution has removed all these bottle necks. 

  • Cost reduction in the maintenance budgets due to efficient work scheduling

 

About Indusmation
Our Principle has been a leader in offering advanced mobile enterprise software solutions using barcode/RFID technologies since 2001. Indusmation specializes in offering solutions for applications such as Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management, Asset Tracking, Maintenance Management, Healthcare, Warehousing, Distribution etc. Our mobile solutions are supported in Windows Mobile devices as well as Smart Phone platforms such as BlackBerry, Android, iPhones, Nokia and others. Indusmation team has excellent experience in offering industry specific mobile solutions to process industries like Cement, Steel, Paper, Oil-Gas, Power and Mining. Our solutions help to extend the ERP right to the smart phones and empower users to work more efficiently and help companies to improve the bottom lines.  Indusmation offers a full spectrum of Consulting Services, Software Development/Customization, Hardware Configuration, System Integration, Implementation Services, Training, Post Implementation support and Maintenance services. For additional information please contact at info@indumation.com visit our website at www.indusmation.com for additional information.  

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