British distributor National Grid (formerly Western Power Distribution) has launched the new Smart Meter Innovations and Test Network (SMITN) project.
Image: National Grid
The project is aimed to investigate new ways of using smart meter data to help equip the electricity network for the mass connection of low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps.
With the new smart meter technology, National Grid intends to monitor the quality of power supplied by the grid and use this data to help identify which customers are connecting low carbon technologies and where extra capacity may be needed.
Then the utility expects to devise self-serve tools and simplify the connections process for the customers wanting to connect these technologies.
“The ultimate aim is to get the best possible data quality, not just for self-serve, but because we are going to need better data to support all sorts of different data applications,” explains National Grid innovation engineer Jenny Woodruff.
“When we have good quality data, we can do better network planning. We can do it safely, we can automate it, we can make sure phases are more balanced, we can make future networks more efficient, reducing the impact of faults and even predicting future faults. Ultimately, all this will save money and deliver a better service for our customers.”
National Grid has predicted connecting 1,600 EV chargers every working day by 2028. While EV connection applications have traditionally been assessed by planners, the more accurate data should enable customers to do some of the planning themselves, using self-serve tools to determine what they are able to connect and to consider factors like cable size and type.
Specifically, the SMITN project aims to use data to confirm customer phases and feeders for more effective load balancing, to determine which customers have low carbon technologies and to explore how smart meter data can be used to predict load on LV feeders and distribution substations more accurately.
National Grid is partnering in the project with CGI, Haysys and Loughborough University and GHD is also working in an assurance role.