Northern Powergrid to utilise smart meter data

Northern Powergrid has unveiled a programme that aims to use smart meter data to transform the way electricity losses can be identified and tackled.

Northern Powergrid to utilise smart meter data

The company has revealed a six-stage programme for reducing losses and carbon emissions on the electricity network, including the analysis of smart meter data. The programme will enhance the understanding of technical losses and underpin and improve loss reduction across the company’s network serving 3.9 million homes and businesses.

“Our programme for losses is underpinned by our ambition to improve our understanding of this complex area,” commented Mark Nicholson, Northern Powergrid’s head of smart grid implementation. “Losses are currently seen as an unavoidable reality of network operation. The smart meter roll-out is bringing a huge data bonus to those of us involved with loss reduction, enabling us to tackle this issue head on and reduce unnecessary carbon emissions from wasted electricity.

“The national smart meter roll-out and the associated move to a half-hourly market settlement processes will introduce more accurate metering point data. We hope this near-real time data availability will mean technical losses can be more readily evaluated. Incorporating this data evaluation, and making use of both existing and new data, allows us to move innovative ideas that will deliver improvements into the operational every day.”

Northern Powergrid, which is responsible for the network that delivers power across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, intends to use smart meter data to identify high loss network areas that will benefit from targeted network reinforcement.

The six-step approach has been developed following extensive industry, stakeholder and customer collaboration, involving workshops and an open consultation. “Our stakeholder engagement has really opened up our thinking on losses,” added Phil Jagger, smart grid development engineer at Northern Powergrid. “At one event it was suggested that the cost of losses should take into account the variable electricity price during the day and the year, rather than an average annual price. As a result we are now considering an approach that considers valuing the spot price of losses in our investment decisions.

“Losses are a critical issue and one we are increasingly able to tackle with new information and technology. Improvements in this area will help make the UK’s electricity network as efficient as possible; making the most of the low-carbon generation coming on-line and helping with the decarbonisation of our energy landscape while continuing to provide our customers with a reliable supply.”

Northern Powergrid’s six-step losses approach:

1. To seek losses reduction through the selection of equipment and installation designs across the full range of its engineering activity. To bring forward work programmes to target losses reduction when justified by cost/benefit analysis;

2. To use the information flows from smart meters as they become available to better understand, estimate and forecast losses;

3. To target both the use of demand side response (DSR) to reduce peak loads and existing reinforcement programmes thereby reducing losses;

4. To review network configuration, both in design and operation, to establish whether the network can be configured to reduce losses and when necessary make these changes;

5. To work with energy suppliers, police forces and other stakeholders in the region to disconnect illegal and/or unsafe connections; and

6. Develop our understanding of losses data sufficiently to consider the re-introduction of a financial incentive on losses performance in the RIIO-ED2 period.


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