Smart Grid Pilot Project
In February 2012, we will begin the installation of technology for a more intelligent electricity grid network in select communities, as part of a pilot project. This project is in keeping with an agreement between JPS and the Government of Jamaica, which requires the Company to build out an intelligent electricity network that offers customers value-added services, improvement in network reliability and faster service response.
A more intelligent electricity grid has benefits for customers, as well as JPS:
- It enhances the Company’s ability to monitor the electricity network.
- Customers will have access to real-time information on their electricity usage.
- The technology facilitates quicker response to power outages and other service issues.
- JPS will be able to do remote meter readings.
Customers who are on what is also referred to as the ‘smart grid’ will have the option of choosing to access add-on features that facilitate remote control over home appliances and lighting, allowing for better monitoring of their own energy usage. With these add-on features, customers can also track their energy usage online from anywhere in the world - even from their smart phone devices!
The pilot project for the more intelligent grid will include the installation of communication technology on the existing distribution network, including streetlights, power lines and substations. The process will also involve the replacement of all meters in the pilot zone with smart meters that facilitate two-way communication.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
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The project involves the installation of Smart Grid Infrastructure (SGI), in sections of the community of Barbican/Jacks Hill as a pilot. A communication network involving smart meters, streetlights, distribution lines and substations will be established. All customers on the smart grid network will have their regular meters (digital or electro-mechanical) replaced by a smart meter.
Please see the diagram below for a better idea of how the network is laid out. A communication device is installed on designated streetlights in the area (those are the blue circles), which are connected by the distribution line leading back to the substation (orange circles). The smart meters (green circles) will then communicate with each other virtually “leapfrogging” until the data gets to the device on the streetlight. If one meter’s communication fails, then the data skips it and moves to the next nearest device to keep communication intact.
Yes, the BSJ has approved the type of meter and, as with any meter entering the island, the BSJ will sample test for accuracy and provide their approval prior to the meters being used.
The company will be using a detailed process to ensure proper billing with the meter change. The meters for this pilot will be coded MCSM (Meter Change Smart Meter). Coming out of the OUR’s Report on last years meter change programme, we will also be holding the meters for two months after they are changed. If customers so choose, they can request that their old meter be tested during this two-month period.
- BETTER SERVICE: Customers will enjoy better power quality, as JPS will be able to quickly detect and respond to service interruptions.
- MORE INFORMATION: They will have access to real-time information on your electricity usage.
- MORE CONTROL: The intelligent grid will provide ways for the customer to easily and safely monitor and manage their electricity usage.
- GREATER CONVENIENCE: JPS will be able to read meters remotely, which will reduce the need for our representatives to access customers’ premises each month. This means less room for human error during meter reading and billing. (For verification purposes, manual readings will be done for the first few months; and, thereafter, occasional access will be needed for routine maintenance).
JPS is constantly aiming for optimal efficiency in its operations. Installing smart grid infrastructure will allow for greater efficiency as well as more information to guide decisions:
- full automated distribution control, demand response and outage detection through SCADA
- real-time meter reading and detection of irregularities
- remote disconnection and re-connection
- data capture to identify consumption patterns and tie residential customer usage to system peaks, etc.
IMPACT ON CUSTOMERS
There is no cost to the customer to set up the Smart Grid Interface (SGI).
Customers will not have to pay for the meters.
No. The rate they pay will continue to be the same as that of other residential customers.
- Phase 1 covers all roads off Barbican Road going north up Jacks Hill including, but not limited to: Millsborough; Widcombe; Dillsbury; Linnaman; McCauley; Plymouth, Wiggan Loop; Edgecombe; Bermuda; Ripoll; Welwyn; Gainsborough; Degenhardt; Zoysia; Pangola; Bahama and; Doorly.
- Phase 2 includes: Top of Jack’s Hill, Carmel Place
- This area of Barbican/Jacks Hill presents a good mix of larger homes, apartments, townhouses and smaller older homes. Additionally, the average customer usage per month is over 650 kWh, which is much higher than the residential customer average of 170 kWh per month. This higher usage level presents a real opportunity for energy management.
- Also, with this mix of residential development and higher usage, JPS will have the opportunity to see how the SGI technology can benefit the various structure types and customers.
The smart meter communication network provides customers with free real time access to their homes’ energy consumption and historical usage via the intelahome.com web portal. In addition to energy usage, the intelahome.com web portal provides comparison usage to similar homes, and helps each customer to identify high energy consumption devices in his or her home. Customers can choose to purchase additional smart home devices that can control large appliances.
Upgrades, improvements or other changes in infrastructure are not optional, as this is neither practical nor cost effective. This principle is seen across the utility sector – customers don’t choose their water meters or how their post paid cell phone charges are metered.
Yes. All meters in the project area will be replaced with smart meters. Digital meters will be returned to the Company’s inventory. Old electro-mechanical meters will be discarded. All meters will be kept for a minimum of two months to facilitate testing if customers request it.
A JPS technician will visit the customer’s home. He will note the reading and meter number of the existing meter. He will also take a picture of the meter with this reading. He will then remove it and put in the GEi210 meter. He will check to ensure that it is working properly and make note of the meter number. The process should take about 10 minutes during which time the power will be interrupted. After the meter is installed, service should continue as before. If someone is home, they will be handed a letter explaining that the meter was changed. If no one is home, the letter will be left in the mailbox.
A customer’s usage is determined by the customer. The meter registers only what is used. So usage may or may not increase based on the customers’ habits. However, if the customers’ usage was being recorded by an older electromechanical meter that had begun to under-register due to worn parts, then a newer more accurate meter will record electricity usage more accurately.
Yes. The meters look the same as other digital meters that we currently have in the field. The current kW consumption figure will be seen ‘blinking’ on the electronic display. As usage occurs, the figure increases incrementally.
No. The Smart Grid infrastructure uses Wi-Fi, not cellular communication, so lack of mobile access in an area does not impact the system's communication. It communicates via wireless internet technology from meter to meter, and from meter to ecoNet.
The meter does not affect your ability to self generate. Net billing, which is currently being worked out with the OUR, will require the installation of two regular meters at a premises that generates its own electricity: one to track your JPS-generated consumption and the other to track your electricity generation. However, this smart meter has the capability to register consumption and generation both ways, so you will need only one smart meter if you self-generate and sell excess to the grid. Note, however, that we are still working out the details of the Standard Offer Contract for Net Billing with the OUR.
Customers in Phase 1 will receive a hand delivered communication, email and/or text message informing them about Smart Grid operations, its benefits, and implementation timelines. Details will be provided in a brochure, which will be made hand-delivered to all residential customers in the pilot area. Additionally, meetings will be held with residents to explain the system in more detail.
The smart grid will utilize Nexgrid technology, through local authorizerd dealer, Powerful Data Limited (PDL). PDL will provide broadband smart grid infrastructure for JPS, to facilitate two-way communication with the smart meters.
Nexgrid has deployed advanced communication elements with over 25 utilities, impacting over 200,000 homes worldwide. Their experience includes advanced metering and smart grid Research and Development, software development and field engineering. Customers include City of Manassas, VA; the US Navy, Vype in Mannheim, Germany; Linz Strom in Linz, Austria, AMB in Bellinzona, Switzerland and ASM in Brecsia, Italy among others.
As Jamaica’s representative for Nexgrid, Powerful Data Limited (PDL) will provide the smart grid infrastructure. Customers can also purchase smart home devices from PDL. Such devices include a thermostat, or ecostat, which displays the customer’s energy usage and cost on an LCD panel.
For details on the JPS Smart Grid pilot project, you can:
- Email us: Smartgrid@jpsco.com
- Log on to our website: www.jpsco.com
- Join the conversation on Facebook at: facebook.com/myJPSOnline/smartgrid-pilot1
- Follow our progress on Twitter @myJPSOnline.
- Contact our Customer Care Centre at 1-888-CALL-JPS (1-888-225-5577).
Persons interested in purchasing smart home devices, may contact PowerfulData Ltd by Email at: email@example.com, or by calling: