Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), which enables two-way communication between the utility and metering equipment in the field, is a solution for both reading of revenue meters and automating connect/disconnect. Once AMI is installed, the ability to collect data and communicate with meters provides additional opportunities. Utilities are able to implement additional applications to receive benefits in many areas of utility operations, including quality of service, forecasting, and improved customer experience. In fact, there are so many opportunities that utility personnel are hard pressed to not only stay on top of it all, but also to decide which application to implement first. The situation is similar for DSCADA. Early implementations allowed for basic control and improvement in reliability of the grid. Today, DSCADA systems continue the trend toward more connections, ultimately leading to real-time monitoring and control of assets on the distribution system. The technical update summarized in this executive summary is in response to the request from utilities for more information on AMI and the DSCADA applications and attempts to inform the business case for adoption.
Use of AMI beyond meter reading and remote connect/disconnect is a relatively new field, and applications are not well understood. Moreover, utilities are looking to implement one or more of the many identified applications early on in the AMI process. DSCADA also offers utilities opportunity for new and improved applications. The objective of this technical update is to provide detailed information regarding the adoption and implementation of high-value applications for AMI data and DSCADA.
Researchers first compiled a list of all applications for data from the AMI and DSCADA for both the distribution system and end user. Each were given a cursory review, and the list was shortened to applications that have either high value or were of high interest to utilities. The researches spent time learning about the applications through discussion with both internal and external experts and in reading available literature. The information was processed through EPRI's technology readiness procedure, which provides three metrics; a high-level assessment of impact versus cost, placement on a technology-readiness timeline, and a detailed assessment and scoring of seven key parameters. A key output is a radial graphic that summarizes the comparison of the application to the traditional way of operating.
Ten applications are discussed each of which are considered either high value today or of high interest to utilities and are evaluated within this technical update. Most, but not all, are considered low cost. EPRI released an initial version in 2014 (EPRI 3002003173). This document updates the ten AMI applications and coincides with the release of a companion document with ten DSCADA applications (EPRI 3002007029).
Applications, Value, and Use
By providing utilities with a technical understanding of high-value applications for AMI and DSCADA, EPRI is enabling utilities to better service numerous key customer segments. The application assessments will inform utilities who are considering implementation about the business case for each application. For utilities with AMI and DSCADA applications already installed, this technical update will inform the process for deciding the next applications to implement. With knowledge of state-of-the-art applications, electric utilities are in a unique position to value and implement solutions that are potentially more cost-effective or better than traditional methods.