Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is to use near real-time data from smart meters to respond to power interruptions.
The DNO will now use smart meters to alert it when a household's energy supply is off, and check if this is due to an existing issue of planning supply interruption before supporting a targeted response. They will also be used to provide updates as to when power is returned and to monitor network performance following the restoration to support network management.
At the moment, SSEN monitors 106,000 substations and 130,000kms of overhead lines and underground cables in order to inform it of power interruptions. This monitoring is then supported by a call centre, allowing customers to inform the DNO of issues.
While the company said this previous approach has been successful, assisting it with data from smart meters will enable a quicker response.
Over time, the long-term data gathered through this new approach will also help inform investment decisions to improve the network.
The transition to a smarter electricity system is helping improve services for households, businesses and communities, with smart meter alerts set to be key to supporting this, said Paul Fitzgerald, SSEN’s smart meter programme and performance manager.
“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.”
Smart meters are estimated to save households £250 annually on energy bills according to the UK government, while helping to slash carbon emissions. Throughout SSEN’s network area, there are currently over 1 million customers who have a smart meter.
Throughout Britain, there have now been 24.2 million smart and advanced meters installed according to statistics released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
SSEN’s new smart meter alert approach is currently being rolled out in its central southern England network, and will be extended to its operations in Scotland after.