Global information and communication technology (ICT) services provider Huawei’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solutions have enabled energy conglomerate Sahara Group’s Nigerian power distributor Ikeja Electric to reduce line losses from 46.2% to 11.6%.
This has led to electricity bill collection increasing from 60% to 100% and revenue improving by about 350%.
Sahara Group COO Rotimi Onanuga told media during a session at the Huawei Connect 2016 conference, which took place in Shanghai from August 31 to September 2, that before the privatisation of Nigeria’s electricity generation sector in 2013, more than 50% of consumers had no metering system. As such, billing became extremely difficult, resulting in a billing-by-estimation approach being followed by utilities.
Onanuga highlighted that this resulted in inconsistent electricity payments and also encouraged illegal grid connections.
To resolve these challenges, Ikeja Electric partnered with Huawei to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) solution using the ICT company’s AMI open architecture for an end-to-end solution, providing information from the point of distribution to the point of trade.
Huawei Enterprise energy solutions director Johnson Chen asserted that, owing to AMI’s ability to reduce line losses and improve bill collection, lending organisations were more likely to provide financing for the solution. He also noted that the effectiveness of Huawei’s AMI solution enabled it to provide a return on investment within three to five years.
Huawei’s AMI solution comprises data collection platforms (DCP), which send and receive data from wide area networks (WANs) and neighbourhood area networks (NANs).
The DCP contains a head-end system, also known as a meter data collection system, which interacts with devices, manages communications protocols, adapts Internet protocols, as well as collects and stores metering data.
DCP also comprises a meter data management system (MDMS), which focuses on business applications, such as managing data analysis, monitoring the operating status of systems, compiling statistics and analysing reports, as well as managing operations and maintenance.
Open interfaces enable the MDMS to operate with independent software vendor systems, such as billing, supervisory control and data acquisition, or Scada, and energy management systems.
The WAN system links data concentrator units (DCUs) with the DCP, enabling data transmission concerning electricity distribution. A NAN comprises meters, DCUs and communication networks that acquire and store data of consumers, which is then transmitted through the WAN to the DCP.
Onanuga highlighted that effective two- way communication between Ikeja and its customers had been the key to the company’s success. Since installing Huawei’s AMI smart metering systems, Ikeja has increased its customer population from about 158 000 to 353 000.
To date, 61 000 meters have been installed in Ikeja Electric’s area of coverage and 300 000 are targeted for installation by April next year.