Powel AS, a leading service and software provider in the utility industry and its partner Ness Technologies, Inc., a global provider of IT and business services solutions, have successfully completed the largest smart meter management test in Europe. Mycroft Mind and its partner, Masaryk University of Brno, Czech Republic, carried out the test on behalf of utility player ČEZ Měření, which operates metering equipment for the ČEZ Group and others; and encompassed data collection, validation and estimation of input from 3.5 million smart meters using a real-life communication protocol.
The test results show that Powel’s vendor-independent system Powel ELIN successfully managed more than 16.000 counts per second in peak times, amounting to close to 1 billion values during the three day test period. The test results set a new milestone in scalability for the Powel ELIN system outperforming comparable systems on the market.
”At Powel, we focus on designing and continually developing the best software independent of which meter types or communication formats utility companies decide to deploy,” said Mats Ekelund, CEO of Powel Energy Management AB. ”This means that our customers are well equipped to adopt strategic projects based on the possibilities that today’s and tomorrow’s smart meters and communication formats provide. The results of this test underline that we are able to service extremely large scale implementations to the highest standard.”
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Ness Technologies implemented Powel ELIN at ČEZ Měření to support a large-scale, automatic metering pilot project that will examine new methods of electricity metering in the ČEZ Group by collecting consumption data and grid information through intelligent meters. The data collected will be evaluated and used to optimize the distribution network of ČEZ Distribuce. “We were not sure if Powel Elin, implemented in our configuration, will be able to process data from 3.5 million Smart meters” said Jiří Stich, Director of Competence Center Smart in NESS Technologies, “it is very good message that Powel Elin is ready for installations in the order of millions of meters.”
”The objective for CEZ Měření is to use this new technology so that we can better meet the needs of, and utilize the opportunities that emerge for distributors, commercial players and private customers,” said Ondřej Mamula, WPP AMM Project Manager for ČEZ Měření.
In January and February, 2013, CEZ Měření carried out scalability and performance testing for its smart metering initiatives. CEZ’ supplier Mycroft Mind established a test environment at the Masaryk
University in Brno based on a combination of virtual and physical servers. Meter values were pushed every 15 minutes based on realistic CEZ Group conditions. The task was to collect, validate and estimate missing values based on the standard rules in the least possible time. The initial heat test encompassed 100.000 meters and a single communication server.
Based on the successful outcome of the heat test, Powel and Ness applied the test system for the larger 3.5 million meters test. Here, Powel ELIN was run on 10 communication servers (virtual servers with 6 CPUs) using a single physical database server with 32 CPUs and 100 GB of RAM. The test lasted three days. After the three days, Powel ELIN collected, validated, estimated and stored more than one billion values. During the intense periods Powel ELIN successfully processed up to 16,000 counts per second.
A unique process
One of the key success factors is the fact that Powel ELIN validates and estimates all time series before the data is saved to the database, making the total process much faster than other comparable systems. As a result, the database server capacity is considerably reduced. In addition, Powel ELIN performs more efficiently as a result of communicating directly with the data concentrator or smart meter alleviating the need for a head-end-system or other intermediate data storage commonly used in comparable solutions.
”The implications from the test results are that we are enthusiastic to roll out Powel ELIN on a larger scale,” said František Müller, WPP AMM Solution Architect for ČEZ Měření. “We expect that this will have great impact for us, our partners and our customer both short and long term.”