The Accelerated Rise of Advanced Metering Infrastructure

The Accelerated Rise of Advanced Metering Infrastructure

Wager a guess on which market is the fastest-growing for smart gas meters? If you put your money on the Asia Pacific, you were correct reader! The ASEAN smart grid market has begun to grow rapidly, and as it turns out, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is one of the key drivers. According to a new study, vast growth between 2021-2025 is expected and the deployment of over 570 million smart electricity meters will take place by 2025 in Asian markets. Shirley Lee Mei Hwei, the Head of Deployment Management for TNB, said of the market boom, “The AMI market is expected to double in the next five years as utilities across the globe shift towards adopting smart meters. Organizations are realizing the increased efficiency and accuracy of the utility management.” She went on to say one of the main reasons for the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) growth is that meter adoption now is expanding. “The significant advantages associated with the use of smart meters, both from a consumers’ and utility companies’ perspective, are drivers of the strong growth. Companies can reduce their operational costs considerably, and billing accuracy is improved,” Hwei said.

But if a company is considering an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) rollout, what does it take to successfully accomplish? The correct partnership is a key component for any successful AMI installation because of the importance of the synergy between the partner and the operator plus the goal they will strive to achieve together. As Steve Jobs has said, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” Bryan Spear, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Trilliant, also believes in the importance of collaboration, especially when concerning AMI rollouts. In fact, he had ranked partnership number one as making the most impact to aid a successful implementation. “The right vendor will help you to ramp up your system and train the individuals who will be responsible for maintaining and supporting AMI. [The Trilliant] Partnership approach [is] working together for a common outcome and local resources leads to a smooth rollout, support, and transition.” While Bryan highlights the development of a good partnership as his secret to success, he also takes time to point out the importance of an exemplary communication system such as having a variety of connectivity options which will work in a densely populated environment. Lastly, he said ensuring the partner or vendor properly understand requirements and functionality is important because both parties must be on the same page to ensure success. When considering overarching needs, Spear said specifically to focus on the process first and the features next. If it is time for your company to focus on finding the right AMI partnership, perhaps use a similar approach you might take to dating. Choose a partner who meets the most vital criteria and prerequisites but also just seems like a good fit for the role. In time and maybe more than a couple of meetings, you will find what you are looking for – in this case, the right AMI partner.

the ami market is expected to double in the next five years as utilities across the globe shift towards adopting smart meters. organisations are realising the increased efficiency and accuracy of the utility management.

Shirley Lee Mei Hwei, the Head of Deployment Management, Tenaga Nasional Berhad

However, features and technologies utilised are also a substantial component to a successful AMI installation. Hwei said that “identifying the right technologies and applications that will empower the people and simplify day-to-day activities is key for a successful deployment. This includes things like reporting platforms, field service management software, data analytics platforms, and others.” While Spear mentions that, yes, technology is essential, but that word partner pops up again as they help drive connecting the technology and all the other components of an install. “Multiple connectivity technologies are critical – energy providers are challenged with a variety of environments from high rises to rural and remote applications. The partner must be able to connect the last mile,” Spear said.

In addition to some of the benefits of AMI highlighted above, Dr. Frank Monforte, Director of Forecasting Solutions at Itron discusses how utilities could utilise data gained through AMI to support the return the reopening of the world’s economies. Due to cities and offices starting to open slowly, why not prepare for the reopening eventuality? “On a longer-term scale, utilities can compare pre-and post-COVID-19 AMI data to predict aggregate load patterns as economies are reopened… Further, by combining AMI data with external data surrounding various municipalities’ plans to roll back stay-at-home measures, utility providers can predict when they should ramp back up on power production to meet the rising demand as citizens return to the workforce and their offices,” Monforte said.

In closing, it is apparent to us that the Asian AMI market is hot right now, sizzling in fact, but what does that mean for power companies, and where should they start? After speaking with the experts, our takeaways boil down to partnering with the right vendor, utilising the correct technologies that accurately fit the project, ensuring the right communication system is in place to uphold the AMI rollout and that both vendor and utility 100% understand what is needed. Remember the upside, which will be a host of benefits, including but not limited to supporting the reopening of economies which has already begun and has been a long time in coming.

This article was produced as an accompaniment to our Demand Side & Customer Management, Enlit Asia + series digital event. To hear more about AMI and other topics, be sure to register for the digital event on 22 April 2021. Registration is free!

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