Analysis of voltage quality and consumption data

The network operators must fulfil rigorous requirements on the quality of the power delivered to customers. According to the "Regulation on quality of supply in the power system" (Forskrift om leveringskvalitet i kraftsystemet; Department for oil and energy), the voltage level and frequency must always persist within specific intervals. This is necessary for the customer's appliances to function properly, and to maintain stability in the power system. The network operators regularly report on their degree of fulfilment of the requirements. For example, if the voltage level is below a certain threshold level this must be reported as a power disruption. Because of this, analysis and improvement of voltage quality is an important research area for the network operators.

The network operators already perform analyses of voltage quality and consumption data. And many network operators have chosen to install smart meters which can monitor voltage quality. This includes the possibility of sending alarms to the meters based on pre-defined indicators (push functionality), and on request collect other or more detailed data than what is pre-defined in the smart meter's basic configuration (pull functionality).

But, the scope and cause of voltage quality problems is to a large degree unknown today. This is primarily because of the relatively low instrumentation of the distribution network, but also because customers' consumption patterns are changing character with new appliances. The number of electric vehicles and other electrical appliances which demand high power levels for a short period of time is increasing. This is as opposed to older, less energy-effective appliances which demand lower power levels over longer periods of time. The former type of appliances affects the voltage quality more than the latter.

Visualisation and exploratory analysis of data will become important. It is especially relevant to compare characterisation of voltage quality with consumption data and other external factors.