Brazil’s Eletrobras Tackles Power Distribution Losses And Operational Efficiency

Brazilian electric utility Eletrobras is well on its way to upgrading its grid infrastructure and operations to improve its power supply.
Published: Wed 13 May 2015

Brazilian electric utility Eletrobras has selected Itron's OpenWay Riva platform to support its grid modernization project and Cisco has been selected to provide a communications solution for its smart meter programme.

Improving operations and recovering lost revenue

The OpenWay Riva solution will be implemented at the six subsidiary distribution companies of Eletrobras, which serve the states of Amazonas, Alagoas, Acre, Piaui, Rondonia and Roraima.

With its adaptive communications technology and distributed computing capabilities, the solution offers a device-level software platform for new smart grid applications on Cisco's IPv6 network. The technology is said to enhance accuracy and timeliness of outage detection and analysis, transformer load management and energy diversion detection.

Itron Latin America Electricity managing director Emerson Souza said: "It reduces network planning, design and implementation time and helps companies like Eletrobras accelerate their time to value for smart grid applications.

The solution will enable the utility to set up a single network with two communications technologies, including radio frequency (RF) and power line carrier (PLC) in real time.

Eletrobras AMI Project corporate manager Paulo Lucena said: "With Itron's solution, we will be able to address the issues we face with losses and theft in order to improve our operations and recover lost revenues."

A consortium comprising Itron, Siemens, Telefonica and Telemont, a Cisco partner, will provide the OpenWay Riva solution to Eletrobras.

Energia+ project reducing operational costs

Cisco will provide communications infrastructure to Energia+, the smart metering programme of Eletrobras,.

The meters use the Cisco FAN architecture (Field Area Network) that works with an advanced meter infrastructure in 80,000 meters in the first stage of the project. Cisco's IPv6 solution allows automation of the distribution of energy, management of field workers and integration with legacy systems.

With World Bank funding of R$1.2 billion, (US$3 billion) the Energia+ project will enable operational efficiency by improving service quality and reducing the non-technical losses, which reach 22% in the north and 10% in the northeast of Brazil, according to the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL)..

With the AMI, the gathered data will be transmitted in real time by the wireless network directly to Eletrobras Metering Intelligence Centre. With that, it’s possible to better monitor and control the energy meters and in the future, the power grid, allowing the more efficient identification and correction of gaps in the distribution structure.In addition, the solution will also facilitate a reduction in operational costs, since it will decrease the displacement of technical teams to places located at remote areas. For the customer, it means a way to monitor and control their own consumption.

"The biggest benefit for this project is more visibility and more control over the energy network, according to Marcus Luz, Operations Director, Enterprise at Cisco Brazil.

The implementation of the AMI project, as part of Energy+ programme, will be held by the consortium that includes Siemens, Itron, Telefonica and Telemont, a Cisco partner, to provide Smart Grid in cities attended by Distribution Companies of Eletrobras. Full implementation of the project is expected to be completed in 2017.

At the next stage, the Smart Grid will allow companies to sell their surplus energy quota and enable prepaid offers and dynamic pricing. Cisco FAN architecture is based on an open technology platform that uses industry standards, thus ensuring the development of new applications and services and constant innovation