Online Automated Metering Infrastructure

Products

OAMI Products

The engineers behind the OAMI technology have designed state-of-the-art products that are a world first. These products are physical devices that works along with the latest AI technology which impowers homeowners to take complete control over the electricity consumption in their homes for little to no cost. These products could help homeowners to account for each and every kWh electricity they consume. Depending on the utility provider, the consumer could not only save money but could also be compensated by the utility for generating electricity using a privately owned electricity generating device such as a grid-tied solar system.


These physical products and unqiue software can also help municipal and reseller utilities to implement complicated tariff structures like Time-Of-Use, grid-tied solar systems and owner self-generation. Not to mention the cost savings benefits to the utility company by using the specialised communication network provided by these OAMI products.


There are a myriad of advantages by using these products, but the greatest advantage is that it is a win-win for all parties. It helps utility providers to minimize loss and illegal consumption, and it ensures that the end-user or homeowner is billed fairly.


In short these products are:


The Utility Hub

The Utilities Hub is a small box that can be installed on the Wi-Fi network of an electricity consumer. The aim of the unit is to save electricity costs by making optimal use of the tariff structure.

Meter Communication Modules

These modules make communication to meters effortless and efficient, especially at large complexes, where meter readers have difficulty gaining access or where meter readers are not available.

Voltage sensors

Voltage sensors are wired or wireless components that can be attached to any number of meters, switches or equipment. They constantly monitor, calculate and determine the voltage supply, and provide enough information to ensure the user identify problems as soon as they occur.

Energy Management System (EMS) functions of Utilities Hub

Overview

The aim of an EMS is to manage energy usage for optimal cost and to prevent overload conditions. The Utilities Hub does both. It is done by defining four blocks of energy usage for every load:

  • Peak period energy usage
  • Standard period energy usage
  • Off-peak period energy usage
  • Own-Generation energy usage.

Time-of-Use energy management provides cost benefits if the electricity tariff provides for low-cost energy during off-peak periods.
Own-Generation energy management creates cost benefits on installations with generators or hybrid solar panel inverters.
EMS provides information and control of individual loads even if Timo-Of-Use tariffs or Own generation does not apply.

Functional Diagram

Connection to Utility Meters

The utilities hub can intercept the communication between utility meters and the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in the area if the utility company uses a compatible AMI system (like that of Protea Metering - see Main Page). In such a case, the user needs only to identify his electricity and water (if applicable) meters, and then these meters will be live on the Utilities Hub of the user.

If the utility company does not have of a compatible AMI system, it will only be possible to integrate the utility meters to the system if the utility company allows the configuration of a non-intrusive monitoring device to the optical communication port of their meters, and if the meters are within range. More information about adding communication modules to utility meters can be found in the section “Adding communication modules to utility meters”)

If communication to existing utility meters is not possible for any reason, the user has two further choices:
1. Install a meter on the main infeed that can integrate with the system, or
2. Do without the integration of utility meters.

More about installing meters on the main infeed can be found in the section “Installing meters on the main infeed.

The utilities hub provides great value for users even if it does not integrate with the meters of the utility. The integration can also be postponed until AMI of the utility company is upgraded to a compatible system.

Connection to power monitoring devices in the home

Power monitoring devices can be installed on any load or combination of loads in the home. Energy efficiency will be improved if the consumption of appliances that store energy (like geysers and air conditioners) are be monitored and controlled. The monitoring of all appliances (individually or in groups) will help to see if lifestyle changes are required to save on electricity costs.

Shelly Devices can be installed to monitor and control individual loads in the house. These devices are inexpensive and available online or in department stores. The installation is easy with full instructions in the enclosed leaflet. These devices are configured on the Wi-Fi of the home and provides excellent features to monitor and control loads via Shelly’s own Cloud network. The devices can even be controlled by home assistants like Alexa.

The utilities hub can also interface with Shelly devices, and adds more value to the already extended range of features of these home devices. Most importantly, it allows the consumption to be mapped and controlled by changing tariff blocks.

The output switch of shelly devices can be scheduled with Shelly’s own cloud services, but with the utilities hub the scheduling can now be made dependant on dynamic tariff blocks. It allows for tariff blocks to kick in at any time (especially own generation / load shedding), and the control of devices must act immediately. This is where a standard schedule for switching is of no use.

It is important to note that a Shelly 1PM Device can switch loads up to 3.5KW. Geyser elements are normally 3KW and therefore within the capacity of a Shelly Device. Shelly EM modules must be installed for bigger loads (if required).

The “Own Generation” Flag

“Own Generation” is a key concept of the Utilities Hub. It needs an input to know when the home is supplied by the grid or by own generation. If the home is in a complex where the electricity is supplied by a utility company using a suitable AMI for electricity metering (like Protea Metering), the input is supplied via the connection of the Utilities Hub to utility meters.

If the utility company does not have an AMI like Protea Metering, the input for “own generation” must be provided from inside the home. For example, where a hybrid solar system is installed with a battery and inverter capable of supplying power to the home during grid blackouts.

The following options are available to users:
1. Install an electricity meter with a suitable communication module in the line of the utility infeed to the hybrid inverter,
or
2. Install a “voltage sensor” with a suitable communication module in the line of the utility infeed to the hybrid inverter.

Suitable electricity meters and voltage sensors can be ordered with the Utilities Hub. The voltage sensor is the cheaper option, but the electricity meter on the incoming grid line has the added advantage that it may be certified by the utility company as the utility meter for the premise.

Water Metering

The Utilities Hub can connect to all utility meters on the metering infrastructure of the utility company for the specific premise. That is if the utility company has a metering infrastructure like Protea Metering. This includes water, hot water, and gas where applicable. It means that the user gets a live view of all utility services, not only electricity.

Adding Communication Modules to Utility Meters

Communication modules for specific meters can be ordered with the Utilities Hub. These modules can be attached to the communication port of utility meters if the meter is a supported type, and if approval from the utility company can be obtained to attach the module. A list of supported meter types is updated in a separate document.

Installing Meters on the main infeed from the grid

The Utilities Hub cannot interface with utility meters if the home is not part of a metering infrastructure (AMI) like that of Protea Metering. In such cases, the user must install their own main infeed meters to use the utility meter functions of the Utilities Hub.

The Utilities Hub can interface with Kamstrup electricity and water meters. Meters with suitable communication modules can be ordered with the Utilities Hub. Electricity meters on the main infeed must be installed by a certified installation electrician.

The Utility Hub: Q&A

This section covers everything you want to know about the Utility Hub device and what it does.

  • 01 What is a Utilities Hub?

    The Utilities Hub is a small box that can be installed on the Wi-Fi network of an electricity consumer. The aim of the unit is to save electricity costs by making optimal use of the tariff structure.

  • The Utilities Hub App can be installed on any number of smart phones or tablets in the house. It displays the consumption of individual electricity loads in the house in monetary values with the contribution of each load relative the total cost of the utility meter. The user can configure the behaviour of each load relating a real time varying tariff structure.

  • Anybody who wants to track the electricity cost of their utility meter or sub-load in their house over time can benefit by installing a Utilities Hub in their home.
    The unit is however very useful under one or more of the following conditions:
    1. When the tariff structure has a Time-Of-Use component.
    2. When a grid-tied solar panel system is installed.
    3. When the home is in a complex equipped with own generation.

  • The alternative energy source implemented by a housing complex to supply electricity to homes when the bulk infeed fails, is referred to as “Own Generation”. It could be a diesel generator, battery storage or any other energy source. The electricity tariff in such a complex provides for a special tariff during own generation which may be as high as ten times the normal tariff. The Utilities Hub in a home where own generation takes place will typically be configured to switch all non-essential loads off during own generation.

  • The electricity tariff for energy export is normally much lower than for energy import. If a battery is included in the A Solar PV system of a home, the system will store energy by charging the battery. If the battery is full (or if there is no battery), the system will export the access energy to the local grid. The optimal strategy is to export when the tariff for exported energy is high. A Solar PV system would normally export mid afternoon when solar production is maximum. However, the tariff for exported energy is low in mid afternoon because the utility company cannot sell this energy. There is a surplus with no demand.

    The utilities hub forces export of energy during peak periods and own generation by manipulating load. It makes sure that the load of the home is highest during mid-afternoon to ensure that the minimum energy is exported when the export tariff is low.

  • Time -of use tariffs are normally three different costs for electricity depending on the time of day. Electricity is cheap in off-peak periods (normally during the night), standard rate during standard periods, and expensive during peak periods. The start and end times for these tariff blocks differs by season by day type and variations that the energy supplier may implement from time to time.

    The Utilities Hub obtains the T-O-U information in real time directly from the utilities company to show the prevailing T-O-U type (peak, standard, off-peak or own generation) on every consumption profile graph. Each load can be programmed to switch on or off during peak, standard, off-peak and own-generation periods if it is equipped with power monitoring device capable of load switching.

  • The Utilities Hub monitors and controls individual loads in the home with Shelly devices.View Shelly devices
    Shelly 1PM can be installed in circuits not exceeding 16A like geysers, air conditioners, kettles, etc. More info on the Shelly 1PM
    The Shelly EM must be installed for loads exceeding 16A (like electric stoves). The appliances cannot be switched by the system, but their consumption is mapped in the time-of-use blocks as a percentage of total consumption.More info on the Shelly EM

  • The Utilities hub is registered at the utility company as the monitoring device of a specific premise (home). The utility company associates the electricity meter of the home with the specific hub. The utilities hub obtains consumption information of the main infeed meter directly from the advanced metering infrastructure installed in the complex.
    This means that a utilities hub installed in a home has direct access to the main electricity meter of the house. The app trends all further loads in relation to this meter, and updates the monitory values of cost and remaining credit from the utility company in real time.

  • Yes, there is a great benefit. The app tracks the TOU and own generation consumption of the main meter and shows the status of the credit wallet whether sub-metering of loads in the house has been implemented or not.

 

About Power Systems Projects

In the twenty-first century new technology are developed and introduced almost on a daily basis. It can be a challenge to stay updated with new developments. Not only does Power Systems Projects stay on par with new technology, but we are also researching and developing new software and equipment to stay ahead in the industry.


All the OAMI products are innovations developed by Power Systems Projects in collaboration with Protea Metering. These leading-edge products make sure that Protea Metering stays ahead of the competition in the utilities industry, and it also help Power Systems to test all products in real-world scenarios.


We also live in a world where information is more available than ever before. At Power Systems Projects we understand the importance of information. We understand that the right information means time and money. That is why our long history of tailor-made Information Systems is our legacy. Throughout the years we have saved our clients thousands of Rands, helped production efficiency and logistics and improved decision making. Because we are constantly improving on our existing systems there is no doubt that our Systems are considered a long-term investment by all our clients.


Not only does Power Systems Projects develop and create the physical OAMI hardware, but we're also behind the information systems and management software that brings the entire OAMI ecosystem together.

Systems

Power Systems Projects specializes in the production of client specified Information Systems. We use the entire System Development Life Cycle making use of the latest technologies available on the market tailored for every scenario. Each system we develop is both user- and managentcentric to make sure all users have the necessary tools to make full use of the system.

Information

Power Systems Projects has decades worth of experience of collecting relevant information from raw data. We do database design, management, hosting and - perhaps most importantly - data mining. We understand that the most important part of data collection is the need to transform it into valuable information in order to gain knowledge from it.

Technology Driven

Research is just as important to Power Systems Projects as the development of products and systems. We know that technology and information goes hand-in-hand in an environment and this goes into every product we develop. In order to stay ahead of the proverbial pack, we are constantly investigating and trying out the latest technology to produce technologically advanced solutions.

Communication

Power Systems Projects is famed for its production of communication devices.
While the Utilities Hub and Meter Communication Modules are newcomers in our stable we have a well-established line of products such as a variaty of converters, isolators, serial communicators and data-loggers, Power Systems Projects is the go-to company when it comes to communication and data-collection on electrical networks.

Contact

We would love to hear from you whether you need some guidance, need some information, want to give a compliment or have a suggestion on how we can improve our service.

Location:

78 Rauch Avenue, Georgeville, Pretoria, South Africa