Kamelia Youssef Mona Tantawi




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AMR PILOT PROJECT IN EGYPT DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES
Mohamed El Haroun* Ahmed Abdel Kader Nour*

Kamelia Youssef** Mona Tantawi**



Abstract :
Customer service comes first at Egypt Distribution Companies. Customer service includes improved quality of service , technical support and Automated Meter Reading (AMR).

Improved efficiency can be accomplished in many ways :

(AMR) may give benefits to distribution companies and the prospects for integrated systems carrying out a combination of desired functions are promising. A carefully integrated system can cater for AMR, customer information , just – in – time billing and possibly distribution automation.

The Automatic Data Acquisition from meter is AMR for energy meter. The AMR provides a quick and simple means of accessing the right meter reading via the power system , both for customers and at other points in the distribution transformers.

The system consists of the transmission units , receiving unit , reading unit and software support for the billing system.

This paper focuses on the features and results of AMR pilot projects carried out at two Electrical Distribution Companies.



Background


In Egypt , there are 7 Electricity Distribution Companies (EDCs) . The objective of each company is distribution and sale of electrical energy at medium and low voltage

Table (1) & (2) represent No. of customers in Egypt.


Table (1) No. of customers Table (2) No. of customers

for each EDC in Egypt. for each Sector in Egypt




Company

No. of customers

%




Sector

No. of customers

%

Cairo

5603009

30.61




Industrial

390112

2.13

Alexandria

1551295

8.47




Agricultural

44597

0.25

Canal

2006718

10.96




Public and Govern

131359

0.72

Delta

4345861

23.74




Residential

15850707

86.58

Behera

1082024

5.91




Shop

1556897

8.51

Middle Egypt

2136987

11.67




Other

332677

1.81

High Egypt

1580455

8.64




Total

18306349

100 %

Total

18306349

100%













Source : Annual Report 2001/2002
EDCs looking to capitalize on AMR technology are committed to replacing , upgrading or retrofitting existing meters. Billing system may need to be upgraded at the same time.

The power meters used are induction electric meters , recently EDCs started to retrofit these meters and also to use electronic meters.

Alexandria Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and North Delta Electricity Distribution Company (NDEDC) have undertaken two AMR pilot projects through low voltage distribution network to satisfy some facilities such as :


  1. Readings are recorded in the absence of the customer

  2. Energy readings are recorded periodically

  3. High accuracy of the energy readings

  4. Statistical customer database

  5. Detection of trials of illegal access to the meter

The outcome of the program is remote reading of meters to facilitate the billing process and the analysis of the consumption.
1 - Remote Reading System :

The system gets the customers readings on periodical-basis from the main distribution transformer that feeds the customers.

This means that it does not require the presence of customer in this home to get this meter reading .

The system consists of the following components :

1 - The transmission unit

2 - The receiving unit

3 - The reading unit, and

4 - The software system

The transmitter units are installed at the meter customers and a receiver is located at the main distribution transformer cabinet.

In this system up to two thousands transmitters can be collected from the same receiver unit provided that they are all fed from the same distribution transformer. Reading can be obtained directly from the transmitter units for testing purposes.

The communication between the transmitters and the receiver use the powerlines and they are based on the Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Theory. A Notebook PC is used to collect the data from the receiver unit.

The data is transformed to the system software that includes the customers database to keep all the readings. The software provides the necessary reports. Fig (1) shows the main elements of the system.


1 - 1 The Transmission Unit

In AEDC, the mechanical electric meter is provided with a transmitter and an infrared senior to transmit the recorded readings to be received at the corresponding distribution transformer through power lines.

The transmitter includes a Micro Controller that has a 4 KB program and 128 byte data RAM. It also has counters , timers , detector circuit , a serial port and a parallel port.

A serial port is used to communicate with the portable unit.

A parallel part is used to control the transmission of the meter reading through the power line network to the main receiver.

The transmitter is installed over a mechanical meter.

In mechanical electric meters, the meter disc rotates with a velocity proportional to the power consumption. The infrared senior is fixed in front of the mechanical disc to monitor the motion of label on the disc surface. When this label cuts the infrared beam the senior sends a pulse to the Micro-Controller through the debouncing circuit. The pulses are sent to the Micro-Controller which counts them and save its number in a nonvolatile memory every 0.1 KWH energy consumption.

This 0.1 KWH is considered as a Measuring Unit (MU). If the power supply goes off, any fraction of MU accumulated in the Micro-Controller and not yet stored in the nonvolatile memory may be lost. To avoid loosing any reading in case of power supply off, detector circuit is used to force the Micro-Controller to save the unstored value in a separate location in the nonvolatile memory, and stop the operation. When the power supply is back , the Micro Controller starts counting from the saved value.

Also , the nonvolatile memory stores both the meter information and the customer information. These data information are stored with the appropriate data protection and correction codes to keep the data secure.

In NDEDC, the transmission unit is digital meter. This type is based on static I.C. chipset, it generates a specified number of pluses per kwh of consumption . The advanced technology of electric meters increases its reliability, and removing the problems of mechanical induction meters.

The digital meter includes : micro-controller , counter , timer , register and memory locations.

The digital meter stores all the information of meter, and customer information . It counts the number of pulses to compute the kwh consumption , and storing these reading for even long periods of time. The digital meter transmits the recorded reading through power lines to the concentrator unit inside the distribution transformer. It receives control orders from the concentrator through communication protocol CEBUS.

The digital meter can receive control order to connect/disconnect the power supply for certain customer by controlling certain contactor. If the power supply goes-off, the time , and date is registered and sent to the concentrator , the digital meter keep storing the last reading in a nonvolatile memory for later retrieval; so no data being lost, or damaged.
1 - 2 The Receiving Unit

The receiving unit consists of the following circuits; the power supply , line coupling the analog interface , the analog receiver and the control circuits.

The receiving unit is connected to the three phase low voltage of the distribution transformer. It receives the energy readings from all the transmitters of the meters fed by the same transformer. As with the transmitted , all received readings are stored in a nonvolatile memory.

1 - 3 The Reading Unit

The reading unit is a portable electronic microcomputer , a notebook (PC) or a Handheld Unit. The reading unit can communicate with both the transmitter and the receiver in order to accomplish the reading and testing operations.

A special connector is available at both the transmitter and receiver unit PC interface. The reading unit is interfaced to the PC by a magnetic coupling circuit.


1 - 4 The Software System

The Software System is divided into four subsystems namely, Reading System, the Support

These subsystems are integrated to achieve the various system requirements. The customers’ readings and associated data can be obtained either directly from the distribution transformers to avoid the non-existence problem of customers or directly from the meters themselves. A group of distribution transformers, i.e thousands of meters can be read by only one reading unit (reader) within only one reading day.

The software system monitors the flow of the monthly reading cycle and manages it by applying a pre-prepared reading plan. All abnormal conditions are considered by rearranging the reading plan.

Informations about all readers are presented as records in a database such as :

Name , Identity Code , Address , Identity Card , Telephone Number and Status within the current reading cycle.



  • Reading System:

The reading system manipulates the reading books (expressed in days and zones) which are considered the principle units in both loading and unloading processes. With the developed system, the customer can possess more than one meter. The Reading System accepts readings by the customers themselves and distinguishes between these readings and all other readings which are obtained by the reading units.

In addition to monitoring all consumption on monthly-basis, the system can also monitor the daily ones without the need to report the reading process. Thus , all consumption is fixed and any necessary report can be issued. The meter protection status is monitored and recorded in a special reports.




  • Support System:

The support system provides a well-established security system for assigning the various jobs to persons in charge and operators. All attributes e.g., read only, update, add, delete and print are considered. Some auxiliary process are introduced to help in validating all data within the reading cycle.

These data are stored on a suitable storage media (floppy diskettes, hard disk, compact disks or magnetic tapes). The support system also support the possibility of setting up and modifying some important system parameters by the system responsible team without the need to perform any modifications in the operating programs.



  • Query System:

The Query System issue some reports from the customer data files based on a specific day or a group of days. Several queries can be done on the following selected data items :

- Customers account Identity Codes

- Customers name

- Customers address

- Distribution transformer Identity Code

- Receiver Identity Code

- Customers status

All these information can be extracted in a form of text or graphical reports. All historical readings can be reviewed through the archiving and retrieving process.



  • Issue System:

This part of the software is responsible for issuing the customers’ bills. The system has to receive all customers’ data lists from the customer database center on periodic basis. Some related reports are generated. The system issues all customers’ reading lists associated with any necessary data to the customer database center in a form of days. All these days are tested before accomplishing the issue process to ensure that they are properly prepared for the issue process. All related reports are extracted. Some accounting data can be added such as debit and credit amounts.
The system has the following advantages :

  1. It uses the power lines as a transmission medium to send the readings of the different meters

  2. The energy readings are recorded periodically

  3. The accuracy of the readings is monitored by a set of error detection and correction techniques to guarantee its correctness

  4. The readings of meters are recorded from the receiver at the distribution transformer using a notebook PC

  5. A menu driven software is developed to facilitate the system usage

  6. A special customer database is developed to facilitate the billing process and the analysis of the consumption

  7. It detects trials of illegal access of electricity even if the power is intentionally disconnected

  8. The trials of reversing the direction of rotation of the meter disc are monitored and despite of the reduction of the mechanical readings, corresponding electric readings (stored and transmitted) in the memory are incremented

  9. An automatic monitoring system issues an alarm if the number of days of low consumption (below specific threshold) increases

Low Voltage Distribution Networks:

There are different communication media such as coaxial cable, twisted pair, telephone and distribution networks.

Distribution networks are solely owned by the distribution company. This allows a natural communication platform into buildings, providing a range of services.

Low voltage distribution lines are the most attractive resources for supporting bi-directional communications, with consequent reduction in operating and capital expenditure.
2- Pilot Projects

2 – 1 Alexandria Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC)

The project is implemented at distribution transformers and at buildings.

Implementation steps are :



  • Adopt mechanical electric meters to remote the reading by adding electronic transmitter unit and infrared sensor inside the meter. These meters are single phase , (10 – 40) Amper and (40 – 80) Amper rating

  • Select and define the locations

AEDC selected 75 buildings and 28 distribution transformers (as shown in table 3)

and installed 103 receivers, one per each.



Table (3) Selected locations for AMR





Location

No. of Locations (distribution transformer)

Situation

Middle

2

Completed

Abo kir

2

Under construction

Northern Coast

19

Under commission

El Agami

5

Under commission




  • Prepare the customers data base for each location which is developed to facilitate the billing process and the analysis of middle location , there are 2 selected distribution transformer . No. 1642 and the consumption in 1192.



A – Distribution Transformer No. 1642


This transformer has 500 KVA , 11 KV/380V. it is feeding :

418 customer meters : 220 V , (10 – 40) A

4 customer meters : 220 V , (40 – 80) A

6 customer meters : 380 V , (20 – 60) A

Fig (2) shows the circuit diagram of this sample after completing the adoption and installation of 428 customer meters and one receiver unit at transformer .

A lot of experiments are carried out , 3-4% of the installed meters were not sending reading periodically as expected (Lock of synchronization). To overcome this problem , a real time clock was installed in the receiver to organize the reading sent from different meters .

The same proceeding is implemented for transformer No. 1192.

The losses report is carried out monthly.

Table (4) represents the losses % in these samples
Table (4) Monthly losses


Month

Room 1642

Room 1192

Jan. 2003

17.67%

18.92%

February

18.66%

21.83%

March

19.54%

22.89%

April

19.78%

19.98%

May

11.63%

12.72%

June

15.11%

12.61%

July

13.48%

NA



B – Sample of building

In this building 10 adapt customer meters and one receiver installed and tested .

Table (5) represents comparison between mechanical reading and receiver reading , the result is very close and the experiment is succeeded.



Table (5) Comparison in KWH metering





Customer meters

Mechanical reading

Receiver reading

Difference

1

3258

3258.9

+ 0.9

2

963

963.6

+ 0.6

3

4384

4383.5

- 0.5

4

2282

2282.1

+ 0.1

5

3502

3502.2

+ 0.2

6

4411.9

4387.1

+ 0.56

7

3809

3809.7

+ 0.7

8

91

91.8

+ 0.8

9

3188

3190

+ 2.0

10

108

108.7

+ 0.7

2 – 2 North Delta Electricity Distribution Company (NDEDC)

NDEDC has installed 50 digital meters at customers in Sharq Mansoura fed from El – Mesahaa transformer which has a concentrator unit inside it. The A.M.R system is performing well , the digital meters send their readings to the concentrator unit via power line using the theory of spread spectrum. Then the concentrator sends via telephone lines to the Network Monitoring Unit (N.M.U).

We have 10 meters three phase , and 40 meters single phase . All the meters succeeded in sending their readings periodically to (N.M.U) . The only limit in this pilot project is that the software package is demo version; and so we can not investigate all the capability of it.

(NDEDC) is aiming now to increase the number of installed AMR units to 1000 meters, and to obtain full license software to make complete , and precise estimation of the proposed system.

Some readings are included in table (6) , Work is still in progress.



Table(6) Errors during period from 2/8/2003 to 9/9/2003





IP

Magnetic meter

Electronic meter

Errors%

Recent reading

Previous reading

Consumption kwh




Recent reading

Previous reading

Consumption kwh

242165

82.7

82.70

0.00




1488.1

1487.90

0.20

0.00

242171

331

320.00

11.00




2777.4

2767.40

10.00

-9.09

242207

11539

11474.00

65.00




1641.7

1573.80

67.90

4.46

242224

4286.3

3888.70

397.60




4061.9

3659.70

402.20

1.16

242226

77871

77625.00

246.00




2567.5

2327.90

239.60

-2.60

242258

38933

37371.00

1562.00




8496.7

6901.30

1595.40

2.14

242263

26884

25618.00

1266.00




7857

6528.30

1328.70

4.95

242292

654.9

9.00

645.90




5813.1

5144.80

668.30

3.47

10008027

15787

14437.00

1350.00




4132

2806.00

1326.00

-1.78

242273

69919

69298

621.00




4550

3896.4

653.60

5.25

242275

7805.22

7502.29

302.93




2402.1

2122.3

279.80

-7.64

242167

1042.7

143.1

899.60




5163.8

4277.5

886.30

-1.48

242282

6406.8

6043.5

363.30




5208.5

4851.7

356.80

-1.79

10008033

3872.1

3307.1

565.00




2431

1922

509.00

-9.91

242270

57949

57583

366.00




5118.5

4724.3

394.20

7.70

Conclusion :

The electrical metering instrument technology has come a long way from what it was more than 100 years ago.

Electromechanical meters are normally available at customers. EDCs started to adapt the meters to remote the reading by adding electronic transmitter unit and infrared sensor inside the meter. Recently , EDCs started to use electronic meters.

In Egypt , EDCs have started to implement AMR pilot projects in Alexandria and North Delta.

The main benefits of AMR are improvement of the cash flow by minimizing delay from consumption to billing, reduced cost of reading , increased security and accuracy of the billing process.

The expected advantages of automation range from improvement of the relationships with customers , improved quality of services and fasting billing.

References :

[1] Non – Technical Losses in Electrical Power Systems.

By Dan Suriyamongkol – November 2002


[2] Metering International – Magazine

Issue 3 1993

[3] ADAM International Electronics Co.

(Newsletter)






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Biography

Speaker: kamelia youssef mohamed youssef

Company: Alexandria Electricity Distribution Company


Actual position (starting jan - 1998 up to now)

Head Of Sector Of Research ,Power Quality And Energy Conservation

Qualifications


  1. B. Sc. Electrical Engineering Power Section (June 1971)

  1. Diploma (1974)

  1. M.sc. Electrical engineering power section (1976)

  1. Ph.d electrical engineering power section (1987)



Company Background Information




Company : Alexandria Electricity Distribution Company

Country : EGYPT


Objective of the Company :



  • Distribution and sale of electrical energy to the consumers on the medium and low voltages and to carry out all the work and transactions needed to fulfill the objective of the company in Alexandria Governorate.

  • Carry out erection of electrical connections for the different uses on medium and low voltage without conflicting with existing laws.

  • Carry out operation and maintenance for the electrical networks in the company and for others.


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