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2003-04 Seminars


Information Technology and Power Distribution/Consumption

Rahul Tongia

Abstract

In this talk, I will present on the potential and role of information technology (IT) for the power sector. Specifically, I will examine the interaction of IT with power distribution and consumption -- setting aside issues of IT usage at the pool (transmission) level. I present a brief overview of the technology, desired services, and current status, and highlight some issues. Beyond automatic meter reading (AMR), I consider IT capabilities for control, operations, and new services. Extending real-time control to the appliance level might have dramatic impact on power system stability and costs. According to one estimate, reducing the peak load by a few percent can reduce the costs of electricity by over 20%.

While many of the new technologies are gaining commercialization, integrated solutions are not widespread. In this environment, I present a preliminary analysis of the potential of such technologies for developing countries. Here, given they often lack what is traditional equipment in the West (like automatic reclosers, capacitor banks, Universal metering etc.) there might be an opportunity for leapfrogging. In addition, I introduce a new idea (preliminary thoughts only!) on the directionality of information flow for power distribution management.