The main innovations that have historically been made involving the distribution of low-voltage energy were in response to the needs posed by unidirectional distribution, with simple loads in both residential and industrial settings.
Because of this, until a few years go the priorities were to measure the energy consumed by each subscriber and to be able to invoice it based on the applicable legislation and contract. Against this backdrop, technological advances in the remote reading and management of meters marked a turning point in the reliability of readings, resulting in fewer claims and in the elimination of estimated invoices.
However, the modernization of our homes and industries has brought about significant changes in the energy we demand from the electricity network, in terms of both the type of energy and of the new loads (household appliances, HVAC systems, lighting, computers, home automation, etc.). There are specific behaviours and needs, as well as different effects on the electricity grid.
The needs we have today with regard to energy consumption and how it is managed are not the same as those that existed in the past. As a result, any decisions and solutions that are adopted should not be the same either.
The modernization of our homes and industries has brought about significant changes in the energy we demand from the electricity network
The power of information
It is obvious that knowing what happens in a low-voltage network can be used to make better decisions regarding the size and architecture of the network and compliance with the applicable laws. It also helps to avoid incidents and minimizes irreparable damage that requires additional investments. But most of all, it provides the key information needed to make more efficient investments and ensure customer satisfaction, placing utilities in a good position vis-à-vis potential customers and reducing the amount they have to allocate to claims.
Having an advanced low-voltage monitoring system that tracks, logs and provides all the information on the distribution network, including details for each supply line and phase, is essential in order to control and manage a low-voltage distribution network.
Having an extensive network of meters (28 million type-5 meters nationwide), a high variability in energy demand by supply point depending on the time of year and time slots, and the appearance of energy prosumers (consumer/producer) all mean that advanced monitoring is not just nice to have, if only for optimization purposes; rather, it makes it an essential element for meeting the requirements related to power quality and interruption times. It also prevents malfunctions in the distribution network and in the end-user's installation.
One of the beneficial aspects of advanced low-voltage monitoring is its contribution as an element to modernize and digitize our distribution network.
It also provides a foundation for the sustainable energy transition of the low-voltage grid and for automating the process of collecting information from said grid.
Beyond the benefits of monitoring and logging the network's electrical parameters, there are other factors that allow for the rapid diagnosis of transformer substations. Examples include the detection of ground leakage and measuring the potential in the ground connection itself. Aspects such as load imbalances or excess temperature can be detected before they cause a failure or require corrective maintenance, thus avoiding the associated interruption in the supply. It is also possible to determine which lines and phases have voltage in them, or to know instantly when a fuse has melted.
Monitor in real time the status of your transformer station
By being able to identify any power quality event (overvoltage, dip or interruption), we can determine its duration, trace its source, and identify the reason that caused it. These features, together with the power quality profiles, provide a unique advantage in terms of diagnosing the health of a distribution network.
Displays waveforms (transients) each time a quality event occurs, capturing 10 cycles before and after its detection
Last, but not least, it should be noted that advanced low-voltage monitoring is recognized as a type-2 investment in the tariff model; specifically, as an investment in digitization, which allows companies to take a deduction over the useful life of the investment and increases the annual investment limits. The result is an increased investment volume.
In addition to the benefits provided by the tariff model, it is important to note that by having it classified as an investment in digitization, companies can request a direct subsidy of up to 50% of the investment in digitization (Royal Decree 1125/2021) in addition to the annual remuneration. It is also possible to benefit from increased investment limits in the year following the installation.
In short, having the proper technology to log and monitor any relevant parameter in a network has countless advantages, both legislative and economic.
At present, we have a large number of products available to guarantee compliance with the quality and safety standards of Transformer Stations.