Saturday, August 13, 2016

the ontario grid - ieso and sme

INDEX to the series
I've found some interesting reading at the "Independent Electricity System Operator" or This is a screen shot of their home page this morning.

I see that this morning, here in Ontario, Canada, over half of my electrical energy is coming from nuclear. None is coming from solar. A tiny sliver from wind. I can see, almost real time, the power source breakdown for the Ontario grid. I can also see the demand prediction for the day.

IESO runs the Ontario grid. They also run the smart meters. They also operate the wholesale market for electricity. The price shown is probably the wholesale rate. I'm guessing that if I buy electricity in megawatts and if I was a customer of IESO, I could get this wholesale rate? I think IESO is the "middleman" between OPG (Ontario Power Generation) and the local power companies. You can see a list of them here. In fact, IESO call them "distributors" I think these are the "customers" of IESO and I am a customer of Ontario Hydro Networks, the one I get my bill from. I don't know much about the electricity market yet but this is a good place to start.

IESO is a Crown corporation owned by the province. It has a president and Board and lots of reports and an engagement process with its "stakeholders". They also run Save on Energy programs. More study required by me.

IESO also runs the smart meter data repository through an appendage imaginatively named the "Smart Metering Entity" or SME This smart meter data repository also has a great name, the MDM/R (Meter Data Management and Repository). Seriously. This is where my smart meter data is kept.

Yes, SME have their own website. Their explanation of what they do:

"The Smart Metering Entity (SME) operates the Meter Data Management and Repository (MDM/R). The Government of Ontario designated the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) as the SME in 2007 to support its Smart Metering Initiative (SMI). The MDM/R processes smart meter consumption data from MDM/R service recipients in Ontario to support Time-of-Use (TOU) billing. The SME also provides information about Smart Metering to businesses, education leaders, and consumers."

Is that clear?

The whole smart meter system is a secure system. If I want my data, I have to be tied in to some third party company, like Plotwatt. I authorize them to access my data at the MDM/R and then I can get my data through that third party. The third party analyses my data. They do disaggregation for me. Supposedly I get to choose which service I want to use to understand my data. Maybe I can have more than one? I can, they tell me, turn off the authorization at any time.

Interestingly, even though I am not getting the disaggregated information (analyzed and organized by appliance) from Plotwatt, the third party I am "partnered" with, I can actually download my actual real meter data. How exciting!

This is the TRENDS tab in Plotwatt this morning. This chart does seem to be working for me on Plotwatt. At the green arrow, I can see the meltdown that happened last week when I had to reset my Blueline sensor to get re-attached data wise to my electrical meter. I lost about a day and a half of data but that doesn't really matter to me at this point. I am sure that the power company didn't loose my data since they get it directly through their own network. I'll get billed for that day and a half.

At the yellow arrow are two little buttons. One of them downloads the supposedly analyzed appliance disaggregated results but it is not any better than the last time I showed you. I don't seem to be getting that information. The other button (the one with the down arrow) downloads the raw data to my computer. It actually tells me that the data is in GreenButton csv format.

So this (click the pic at left to see the graphic or click this link to get the file) is my data downloaded this morning. A 2 MB file that I've put on my own server so you can click the link to download it. I have removed the id information.

I see my GreenButton data as a spreadsheet. One measurement every minute of the USAGE (in Kwh), going back about a month and ending the moment I downloaded it. 41,199 data points. I could make a graph but I get pretty nice graphs already with Blueline Energy Cloud. It's clear why I need the "interpretation" to get totals by appliance or find another way to measure the key appliances directly to get some kind of totals more easily?

I'll end with The Empowered Customer a pdf from the Blueline site, one of their News from Dec 2015 which talks about the American experience with how customer access to their data can help reduce demand by being more aware of power use in detail. There are quite a few interesting claims being made. Americans call it GREEN BUTTON CONNECT.

That's all for now. Thanks for your interest.

George Plhak
Lion's Head, Ontario, Canada

INDEX to the series

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