The customer base of Dominion Power is large enough to present the company with a significant challenge: in the era of Smart Meters and home power generation, the tools available to Dominion to respond to new situations are more numerous than ever before. However, the size of Dominion’s customer base makes responding to the bulk data unrealistic. This situation will only worsen over time, as smart meter technology becomes more pervasive across the United States. This necessitates a method of aggregation and simplification of the data collected by these meters, along with a scalable structure for expanding with future technology.
The rise of customer power generation and the push for renewable energy compounds this issue, providing a two-way exchange of power to the grid. Our motivation is to utilize smart meter technology by analyzing and monitoring power exchange for Dominion and their customers. We will develop the Smart Meter Aggregation Console (SMAC): a real time monitoring system that will read and calculate the average power distribution and quality from a wide set of smart meter measurements. This system is programmed on MATLAB and was developed with the intention of creating a scalable network. Our team faced challenges in coordinating the abilities of the system with current technology and required us to learn more about the capabilities of modern smart meters. Another challenge was creating the system without an official data set. We solved this issue by creating a random number generation program that would generate a new data set to model each customer. We successfully developed a prototype model for a district level grid monitoring system. The model can help advance smart meter technology and can provide assistance for Dominion and their customers. From this build, we gained valuable experience in understanding the modern challenges presented by rising technology in the field of power engineering.
This system as it stands today is only a framework of a much larger network, but we believe that it holds great potential for both Dominion and its customers. In a full implementation, the code that we have developed would be run for multiple zones across a wider region (such as for districts within a state), congregate the data into a GUI overlaid on a map screen that would associate customer ID’s to real locations, and streamline the process of dispatching repair/maintenance crews. The application would be used by Dominion monitoring crews and allow them to more accurately and efficiently allocate their resources.