News | June 2, 2021

SSEN Leads The Way Towards Delivering A Smarter Energy System Through Innovative Use Of Smart Meters

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) will utilise near real-time data provided by smart meters to respond to power interruptions. Smart meters will support engineers in identifying the fault location, provide updates on households returning to power and reduce the duration of power interruptions on the network.

The UK government estimates that smart meters will help save households £250 annually on energy bills while slashing countrywide carbon emissions by 45 million tonnes annually; the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road for a year. SSEN’s innovative development will also support the delivery of a safe, resilient and responsive network with critical decisions informed by data provided by smart meters.

Smart meters will now alert SSEN staff when a household is off supply, provide updates when power is returned and monitor network performance following a restoration to support ongoing network management. In the long-term data gathered will help inform investment decisions to improve the network performance for SSEN’s customers.

Currently SSEN’s response to power interruptions is informed through systems monitoring its 106,000 substations and 130,000km of overhead lines and underground cables. This active monitoring is supported by customers calling its dedicated call centre staff to inform of network issues. While this approach has been successful in reducing the duration and number of interruptions, it will now be assisted by data provided by smart meters, enabling a quicker response when issues occur.

Smart meters will provide SSEN with:

  • Power outage alerts – as soon as there is a power cut SSEN’s system will check if there is an existing issue or planned supply interruption taking place. If not, then the system will alert staff to the issue and support a targeted response.
  • Restoration alerts – when the power is restored at a household level SSEN will be updated, alerting staff the power is successfully restored.
  • Update supply status – Following a repair smart meters will be able to update SSEN on network performance to help identify nested or secondary interruptions on the network, along with automatic supply status checks for customers calling to establish if a power problem is on their internal property
  • Automated Filtering – to ensure SSEN focus on power alerts impacting our customers and our network.

This development will bolster power interruption response and customers are encouraged to continue calling 105 to report a power cut.

Paul Fitzgerald, SSEN’s Smart Meter Programme and Performance Manager said:

“SSEN is strongly committed to continually driving improvements in service delivery to the households, businesses and communities we serve. The transition to a smarter electricity system that makes use of smart meter alerts is key to supporting that commitment.

“Alerts sent directly from smart meters will help us to reduce the duration of interruptions by providing information to aid location and confirm exactly which customers are off supply. Alerts will also confirm when all supplies have been restored in near real-time. Remotely checking the supply status of an individual or group of properties improves our response to power outages and service to customers”

As part of these developments, customer contact staff responsible for customer interactions and engineer dispatch have been trained to use the information provided by smart meters.

Over 1 million customers in SSEN’s network area currently have smart meters. This new smart meter alert approach is being rolled out in SSEN’s central southern England network and will then extend to the north of Scotland.

The next stage of this development will see smart meter information utilised to support customers by enhancing network planning, load forecasting, and network operations as SSEN powers communities to thrive today and create a net zero tomorrow.

Source: Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks