1. How you see the Rollout of the Smart Meters in India and what are the challenges?
As Indian utilities are heading towards Smart Meter rollout at a very large scale. Most of the Indian utilities are on the verge of implementing Smart meter projects, whereas, some of them have already gone live. At present, the test with complete infrastructure is done at manufacturer available resources which leads to manufacturer specific system from which interoperability and interchangeability cannot be achieved.
Interoperability and Interchangeability of energy meters are the biggest challenge for utilities in the Smart Meters rollout in India. It is very important to study the way in which the German Smart meter Rollout was executed. They made teams consisting of meter manufacturers, grid operators,manufacturer of generation systems, specialist of cyber securities and test equipment manufacturers under the leadership of the FNN (Forum Network Technology) who has the goal to define the components for the Smart Meters rollouts, essentially focusing on interoperable and interchangeable systems.
2. What future opportunities you are expecting for the Smart Meter Testing industry in India?
The rapidly developing testing and calibration infrastructure in India has adopted international standards, but as far as testing of Smart Meter is concerned still some milestones are to be defined and achieved.
There is no doubt that Utility and Energy Metering Industries have to adopt Smart Meters to cope up with the recent requirements of market. Henceforth, for successful implementation of Smart Meter projects, it is very much essential that energy metering industry gear up and have necessary infrastructure to carry out metrological and communication test on all components individually as well as on an integrated system by simulating field conditions in the laboratory itself. This can be achieved by defining the requirements in detail, creating test cases for these requirements and by precise implementation of these test cases by deploying modern IT enabled fully automated Smart Meter Test System. Inclination of a laboratory personnel also need to be changed from pure metrological testing to communication testing as well.
Nevertheless, a specification which describe detailed requirements of functional and communication tests for smart meters and integrated testing solution for the same is the need of the day. Organisations such as CBIP, CEA and other competent authorities can play vital role to standardise the requirement of communication testing in terms of routine and acceptance testing. This will also lead to interoperability and interchangeability in the system and utility will be free to replace any Smart Meter at any point of time by any manufacture.
3. What technological innovations would you incorporate in your products for making them superior and efficient?
Smart meters will be a new era for empowering utilities as well as consumers. The testing of smart meters is the biggest challenge for not only the smart meter manufacturers, but also for the power utilities and AMI operators.
Modern measurement and communication systems are essential for managing the complex network of data’s. Amalgamation of the two fields – data measurement and data processing – is only possible when they can communicate with each other. We being manufacturer of energy meter testing equipment have taken step into the same wherein our Energy Meter Test Bench will not only just read data of meters but it will also facilitate utilities to further analyse the recorded data.
We are working very closely with European Utilities for setting-up of advanced laboratories as per BSI (The German Federal Office for Information Security) requirement documents and FNN Test Cases for every device used in the test system.
4. How would you like to enhance the current market scenario?
As far as the communication of the smart meter is concerned, it is mainly done over the DLMS protocols in India. As DLMS specifications has lot of flexibility and possibilities for smart meter implementation, hence, implementation of the features and specifications will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and will also depend upon the requirement of utility. This means, not all features will be part of the implementation. This results in different implementations by different manufacturers for the same specifications. Hence, the interoperability and interchangeability are at risk.
To overcome this, the utility shall have a detailed specification of smart meters including all the requirements of applicable standard and utility specific requirements. Accordingly, the tools and tackles, test conditions for the testing of all components of smart meter testing systems which can perform Metrological test along with the communicability test to ascertain interoperability and interchangeability within the system.
To cope up with above mentioned challenges a mechanism and testing infrastructure is required where the meters can be verified including the Event logs reading, Tamper logging verification and proper communication. The end to end testing, verification of contact resistance of load switch and infrared optical port intensity etc. shall be tested thoroughly to prevent potential failures.
5. Finally, what is your view on how things are likely to shape up post 2019 General Election and what will be ZERA’s overall vision in India?
Irrespective of results of the elections, I believe that India has a bright future ahead in the field of the Smart Metering. As far as ZERA is concerned, we believe that India has large market potential in energy segment. The future of energy monitoring and measurement system in India is rapidly moving towards the integration of smart meters.
Financial health of any utility is dependent on their revenue machines, which is a major concern area for them. These revenue machines are nothing but Energy Meters that are now essentially Smart Meters only. So the proper, accurate and reliable testing of these revenue machines are the most important concern of any utility.
As far as ZERA is concerned about the testing facilities and the current scenario, we are prognosticating to provide customer with hi-tech and economical test solutions. Power- energy measurement is very critical and an important activity for optimum utilization of resources. We want to be a key provider of Meter testing equipment’s for the user enabling them to produce global standard products.
Precision starts with us. Today, we can truly say this. We know that the extraordinary success of the past decades has only been possible due to the people that supported the company with their knowledge, their ideas and their passion for quality.
Being a market leader in testing field for energy meters, ZERA is now fully focused on developing Smart Meter Testing facilities in order to serve utilities, laboratories and of course end users of meter in a better way.