Improved use of individual metering concepts

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In COOL DH we have studied how to improve individual metering concepts and ways of using gathered data for billing district heating. In the report “Improved use of individual metering concepts”, we provide an overview of regulations on district heating metering and billing in Sweden and Denmark. It also provides an overview on applications to use on customer’s meter readings for energy efficiency improvements. Per‐Olof Johansson Kallioniemi from Lund University (Dept. of Energy Sciences), introduces the report.

What is the main purpose of the report?

The report intends to provide insight into important factors to consider when choosing metering and communication systems for district heating. The aim of the report is to:

  • give an overview over the current regulations for metering and billing of heat in Sweden and Denmark,
  • give an overview of desirable functionalities for DH meters and metering systems,
  • provide input to applications that meter readings can help develop and which can be useful for the district heating industry,
  • describe how DH meter readings can be used for condition monitoring of service pipes and develop a method for this.

What are the main findings in your study?

The overview of the current regulations for metering and billing in Denmark and Sweden shows that the two countries have somewhat different approaches to the individual metering concept. Denmark follows the Energy Efficiency Directive from 2012 (supplemented 2018) that requires individual metering and charging. The Swedish regulations are based on the exception in the EU regulation concerning individual metering and charging which says that individual metering must be economically justifiable.

From ongoing projects, four areas of applications that meter readings can help develop, and which can be useful for the district heating industry, have been identified: Fault detection, Load prediction, Production planning and Operational optimization. For these applications hourly meter readings are sufficient, at least in combination with historical data and weather conditions. For improved fault detection algorithms and moving towards fault diagnosis it might be more beneficial to include more meter parameters from the customer side of the heat exchanger.

One scope within this project was to evaluate how meter readings from customer installations can detect increased heat losses in service pipes due to moisture. A theoretical study was carried out. Results showed that even though the heat losses in the service pipe increases due to moisture content, the impact on temperature and flow are low and would be hard to detect.

To improve customer performance and to reduce the DH return temperature, a key factor for success is good customer relations and access to the customer’s DH substation. This may be a driving force for DH‐utilities to offer service agreement and ICT‐platforms for greater customer engagement. Customers seems to be more willing to take actions to improve their installations if they understand why it is important.

The report presents the following recommendations:

  • The meter should be able to measure the energy for every hour and be able to convert to measure with higher frequencies (minutes).
  • It should be possible to upgrade the meters and to change the meter frequency from a distance. This will allow new functionalities to be introduced in a cost‐efficient way and that expensive field visits can be avoided.
  • The following measurements were seen as the most important: Indoor temperatures, secondary temperatures measured on branches for the heating system in the building, and measurement on the district heating differential pressure. Measuring these parameters would be beneficial to develop algorithms for fault detection and to improve system performance for the total district heating system, as well as being able to guarantee the quality of energy supplies at the customer substations.
  • There should be a digital interface that end customers can use to access their energy consumption locally. The communication solution should also support a future standard for communication with devices in the home. In order to be of real use for the customers, this should be delivered with some kind of analysis tools that can help the customers relate their consumption or data to reference data (for example historical data, norms or set point values).

What happens now?

In COOL DH, smart energy meters are installed at all customers for good measurement ​​in upcoming monitoring and evaluation of the project. The smart energy meters that will be installed makes it possible for the DH tool to analyse data readings, error detection, energy consumption online and load prediction in the future.

Learn more

D2.6 Report on improved use of individual metering concepts

If you are interested in reading other papers and reports from COOL DH click here: reports and documents.