Electrical Power & Protection

Smart Grid solutions enhance utility revenue collection

July 2019 Electrical Power & Protection

At African Utility Week in Cape Town, Johan Pretorius, business development manager, Schneider Electric South Africa, presented a paper on ‘The Impact of Revenue Collection on Non-Technical Losses’.

“The current issues facing utilities include the need to up revenue collection and reduce non-technical losses,” explains Pretorius. “Examples are theft, illegal connections, meter tampering and incorrect metering, all of which contribute to the lack of revenue collection. The efficiency of electrical distribution is rarely planned or managed by utilities.

“One of the key challenges is the incorrect and inaccurate municipal billing system, resulting in various communities being dissatisfied with the inaccurate municipal bills that are issued. Consequently, public confidence in terms of the billing system dwindles and communities are unwilling to pay against bills issued.

“Non-technical losses in the power sector are almost non-existent, or negligibly small, in developed countries, but the situation tends to be significantly different in developing countries. The elimination of such losses should be a matter of high national priority for every country.”

Thanks to Smart Grid strategies, it is both possible to plan, measure and improve transmission and distribution efficiency. The Smart Grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users connected to it – be they generators, consumers, or both. Smart Grids are able to deliver sustainable, economic and secure electricity supplies efficiently.

Substation monitoring

“One example is substation monitoring,” says Pretorius. “Monitoring of medium voltage (MV) equipment in older substations is costly as it requires complex, intrusive methods. New solutions and sensors are therefore required. With smart solutions, simulation and testing become effective methods for reducing network losses.

“The daily load, voltage, power factor and temperature profiles of substation and feeders are examples of data that can be gathered by a monitoring system, then through software, a chronological overview of events can be determined and formatted into customisable dashboards.

“Problem solving becomes easier with such a system. For instance, locating the source of losses within the network is one of the first challenges. One solution for monitoring LV networks is to utilise smart energy meters. Where losses occur in the distribution grid, they will vary depending on the network.

“Utilities operating electrical distribution networks are therefore able to reduce losses thanks to smart strategies, thereby enhancing active and passive energy efficiency. Since local distribution networks are becoming more difficult to manage, more accurate and highly networked (connected) equipment and sensors are required.”


Transitioning to smart MV/LV substations is a cornerstone of the Smart Grid. Utilities operating electrical distribution networks are in a position to reduce losses through smart strategies, enhancing active and passive energy efficiency.

“The market reality is there are increased short-term capital costs, but the long-term advantages include lower operating costs, reduced energy waste and an integrated and flexible network,” concludes Pretorius. “At Schneider Electric, we have become a leader in a number of our markets. Now we want to power the digital economy in Africa.”

For more information contact Tracey Ganas, Schneider Electric Anglophone Cluster, +27 11 254 6400, tracey.ganas@se.com, www.se.com/za


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Electrical loggers for energy savings
October 2020, Comtest , Electrical Power & Protection
Fluke energy loggers deliver a complete picture to reduce energy costs and improve the bottom line.

Power supply components and services for marine applications
October 2020 , Electrical Power & Protection
Vert Energy works closely with the marine and offshore sector offering the supply of quality branded components and the support of a comprehensive repair and maintenance service.

New Modicon IIoT-ready controller
September 2020, Schneider Electric South Africa , PLCs, DCSs & Controllers
The Modicon M262 is IIoT-ready, designed and delivered with intuitive direct cloud connectivity and no gateways are required for OEMs to design solutions for performance demanding applications.

Mines reduce fire hazards
August 2020 , Electrical Power & Protection
Underground mines in southern, central, and west Africa have been seeing the safety benefits of dry-type transformers from Johannesburg-based Trafo Power Solutions. According to managing director ...

RS Components stocks Eaton contactors
August 2020, RS Components SA , Electrical Power & Protection
RS Components now stocks Eaton’s complete Moeller series of compact DILMT contactors. Easy to integrate in a variety of industrial machines and systems, the contactors enable space savings of up to 40%, ...

Power supplies for building automation
June 2020, Phoenix Contact , Electrical Power & Protection
The new Step Power power supplies from Phoenix Contact are specifically tailored to the needs of modern building automation. With their comprehensive approval package, which includes the standard ...

Skid-mounted dry-type transformer
June 2020 , Electrical Power & Protection
In a specialised application on a coal mine, Trafo Power Solutions recently supplied a dry-type transformer mounted on a mobile skid. “The harsh environment of a coal mine required us to specially ...

Customised transformers for renewables and beyond
June 2020 , Electrical Power & Protection
A focus on application engineering allows Trafo Power Solutions to supply customised dry-type transformers for a range of sectors including renewable energy. “We begin at the proposal stage by engaging ...

Electrical certificate of compliance (COC) for instrumentation: non-hazardous installations
June 2020, Everest Equipment & Control , Electrical Power & Protection
An instrument and control installation’s scope of work often never makes a request for a certificate of compliance: it is assumed to be an electrical function and hence many installations are non-compliant. ...

Five tips to manage energy use while staying at home
May 2020 , Electrical Power & Protection
Covid-19 continues to impact many aspects of our lives. Many are now required to stay at home in an effort to curb the spread of the pandemic. One of the many implications of staying at home will be the ...