Smart meters to monitor power quality at consumer premises
Power quality (PQ) in the low voltage (LV) network and consumer premises, especially homes, is largely unmonitored and, anecdotally, is not well understood. Specific monitoring typically takes place only after consumer complaints have been laid or abnormalities noticed. This paper investigates the possibilities, opportunities, and challenges around leveraging the advanced metering infrastructure already installed or being rolled out across New Zealand to monitor PQ in the LV network. The research summarised in this paper has been carried out as part of the GREEN Grid programme. An introduction to smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and the potential benefits they bring to multiple sectors of the electricity industry is given. The progress of smart meter deployment in New Zealand reviewed, an overview of PQ parameters which may be of interest to electricity distribution businesses is presented, the features and capabilities of different models of smart meters presented, and discussion given to a number of potential issues around such usage. Alternative options for LV PQ monitoring are also identified. It is found that while many of the over one million smart meters deployed in New Zealand have the ability to measure and log steady-state voltage, voltage sags/swells, and harmonics to a basic level, there is a range of other factors which need to be considered and challenges overcome before electricity distribution businesses (EDBs) are able to make effective use of PQ data from AMI.