The usage of smart metering equipment is changing the way basic services are managed in Brazil and other countries. In this article we are going to see how these technologies are being developed and deployed in Brazil.
Over the past few years, customers worldwide have become more conscious about the consumption of resources like water and electricity. New technologies are being developed to help reduce the waste and control consumption, resulting in a larger economy in domestic expenses. In many countries, projects to update the existing grids are in its initial stages.
This is no different in Brazil, although most current smart metering projects are focused on the electricity market in order to create a smart grid. The new measurement equipment bring the benefit of more control over the system and reduces the commercial loss, caused mainly by theft, and guarantees more efficiency in the service. The smart grid is capable of supporting many uses such as supply management, live monitoring via internet through mobile devices and televisions.
Pilot Projects in Brazil
The pioneer in the modernization of its grid, which started the project in 2008, is AMPLA, the electricity supplier of 66 cities in Rio de Janeiro state. The company operates in an area with more than 2 million homes and, with the use of smart metering, was able to reduce by 20% the overall loss on the grid due to theft. Even with some initial problems, it was considered to be one of the biggest innovations in the last decade in Brazil.
Nowadays, the smart metering concept is present in 6 Brazilian states, including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná and the Amazonas, involving local providers. The objectives of these pilot projects are to create standard models of implementation and technology for other cities to follow in the future. One of the first improvements brought by the system was the new billing method of time-differentiating usage.
Other essential services such as water, sewage and gas do not have a similar plan to the energy implant model like smart grid. The technology for these kinds of meterings exists, but they are not adopted by the service companies. The only exception is the city of Campinas, in the state of São Paulo, that uses a PLC based network to manage the average consumption of electricity and water.
The smart grid is targeted to the so-called Group B, that includes urban and rural residences, which are the low voltage consumers, with the exception of the lower social class homes and public lighting.
Regulatory demands for the system
ANEEL, or Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency, released in August 2012 a specific regulation for electronic metering equipment in order to facilitate the beginning of its deployment. The regulation demands minimum requirements for the smart metering equipment, that includes the following measurements:
- Active electric power
- Inductive reactive electric energy
- Short-duration interruptions
- Long-duration interruptions
- Voltage transgression duration
- Charging posts
- Data traffic direction
- Remote measurements
- Remote management
- Communication Protocol
In order to get the smart metering equipment, the consumer must request it from the supplier. There are two types that can be requested: one installed with no fees, using the “white fare” system, determined by a flexible time-determined consumption price, varying with the time and day of the week. The other is more complete, offering specific information according to the provided service and which deployment can be charged by the energy supplier company.