Energy companies and utility operators are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency, reduce leakage and eliminate outages. IoT enables a deeper level of interoperability, connectivity, and automation. This results in utilities operations that are more agile, are more flexible and efficient, have improved outage management, enable automatic and remote fine-tuning, transform energy data into new services, prevent theft, predict asset performance, and smoothly integrate all types of energy in a connected system.

I. Electrical Smart Grid

Electrical utility operators are currently faced with the advent of renewable and distributed power generation. Both demand a more flexible and “smarter” grid that can handle multiple energy sources (like wind and solar) in a decentralized and bi-directional network. Instrumenting the distribution grid can greatly improve reliability. Over the past five years, we have seen a reduction in wireless sensor cost, size and airtime while we have seen a drastic increase in battery life and computing power. As a result, the number of connections and the volume of grid data will increase rapidly. As more wireless sensors and smart meters are deployed in volume, the number of connections and the volume of data to be collected will multiply by at least a factor of 100.

This wealth of data will benefit grid operators in many ways including:

  • Use of smart meter data and/or network data for improving grid fault location, identification and restoration in real time.
  • Use of grid and meter data for implementing efficient local energy efficiency measures, for example local energy loop optimization via monitoring, or control of local energy generation and load.
  • Use of grid and meter data to create more efficient market mechanisms – both wholesale and local.

The global number of devices being managed by utility companies is projected to grow from 485 million in 2013 to 1.53 billion in 2020. The industry is the second largest source of IoT service provider revenue, behind the transportation & logistics sector. These devices can range from meters, grid sensors and actuators to energy boxes and electrical appliances. They are used for applications such as grid monitoring and control, metering, asset management and tracking, and field force communication.*

* Ericsson


II. Water Utility

A typical water utility looses millions of gallons of water to inaccurate usage readings and leaks in the pipeline. Water providers spend millions of dollars and burn thousands of gallons of fuel monitoring the health of the water management infrastructure. IoT makes AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) technology possible. AMI is an architecture for automated, two-way communication between a smart utility meter and a utility company. It enables water utilities to achieve fully automated daily meter reading without a truck roll while also boosting customer service, water conservation and revenue.

In addition to remote meter reading and advanced billing, IoT benefits water utilities by:

  • Gaining accurate daily reads as well as leak, tamper, and reverse flow data.
  • Being able to address high water bill complaints with historical consumption graphs detailing daily or monthly usage for a single account.
  • When water is scarce, help conserve it, with hourly, daily, and/or monthly consumption data that end users can monitor themselves.

You can reduce Non-Revenue Water. Split routes or group similar accounts for greater efficiency. Eliminate the time and cost of truck rolls for off-cycle meter readings. And head off customer complaints over high water bills.