Smart Grid and Renewable Energy, 2012, 3, 165-174 Published Online August 2012 ( 165
Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy
Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future
Abhishek Khanna
Power Networks, ATKINS Plc, Leeds, UK.
Received January 5th, 2012; revised April 5th, 2012; accepted April 12th, 2012
Integration of unpredictable renewable power sources into the Grid is leading to the development of wide area control
algorithms and smart grid. Smart meters are the first step in the build ing a smart consumer interface. Much more, how-
ever, would be required in building a smart grid than just smart meters. This paper explores the conceptual architecture
of smart grid. It highlights the need for additional infrastructure to realize full potential of smart grid. The information
presented in this pap er is an attempt to uncover what the futu re in smart grid could be and what infrastructure would be
required to tap its potential. As smart g rid evolves, more function ality would be built in the co nstituents. The pape r also
proposes mathematical basis for some of the controller algorith ms.
Keywords: Smart Grid; Home Energy Automation; Smart controller; Smart Grid Control Centre
1. Introduction
A grid essentially consists of Generation System, Trans-
mission (and Subtransmission) system, Distribution Sys-
tem and the Consumers. The domain of each of these
constituents cannot be strictly defined in terms of gen eric
definitions. In a smart grid all the four subsystems of the
grid are smart or intelligent. In a conventional grid all
these entities are linked together through components
like cables, transmission lines and transformers which
allow flow of electrical energy. In smart grid there are
links for bidirectional flow of information (i.e. commu-
nication systems) in addition to the links for flow of en-
ergy. The control action of local controllers is based on
the information available from the diverse locations.
This is reflected in Figure 1.
The information exchanged on the communication
links is used by sophisticated control algorithms for gen-
erating a control action which satisfies several opera-
tional and economical constraints. Thus in a smart grid,
the human interference is reduced by use of software
algorithms which can process the data faster, non-stop
and perform control actions on behalf of the humans. The
degree of smartness of a grid increases with the follow-
1) Amount of information exchanged between the va-
rious constituents.
2) The level of constraints the algorithms can take into
3) The geographical area of the grid controlled.
Figure 1. Smart grid interfaces. In addition to power and
energy flow, the smart grid has bi-directional information
flow. Each constituents has its own set of controllers which
exchange information with other controllers and act ac-
4) The diversity of the generation classified based on
the source like solar, wind, tidal etc.
The decisions taken by the controller could bring a
minor change in the system topology like, switching in
reactive compensation equipment or a major change
would be affected like islanding of two interconnected
systems. In addition to this the importance of a decision
is also dependent upon where it is made. For example
switching in a solar panel of 500 Watts (peak) could be a
major change for a home energy system but has no effect
on the whole of the grid. Critical control actions, thus,
would need information from electrically and geographi-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future
cally diverse locations. There is no grid which would be
100% smart as there would be always human interven-
Conversely, there is no grid which has no level of
automation. The protection systems have always been
operating without operator intervention. All grids have at
least protection systems which make decisions on their
own without any human intervention. Thus, the concept
of smart grid is not new but off late the possibilities
(cheap numerical controllers) and necessities (renewable
energy sources) are forcing manufactures to have a new
The major benefits of smart grid are:
1) Flexibility
It is the measure of the ability of the v arious grid con-
stituents to adapt to the changing or dynamic environ-
2) Efficiency
A smart grid and its constituents are efficient in the
sense that they all do more with less in a given set of
constraints imposed by the system.
3) Reliability
A smart grid is more reliable because its response to
the changing scenarios or dynamism is more predictable.
This gives people ample confidence in the planning.
4) Security
A smart grid enhances the security of the supply be-
cause it is flexible and can adapt better to the system
5) Economics
A smart grid is more economical. Economics should
not be taken in absolute. A smart grid is not necessarily
cheap but is the cheapest solution for the given degree of
reliability security and other constraints. This is because
it has higher efficiency and flexibility allowing better
utilization of assets.
In a typical smart grid, all the constituents contribute
to the benefits and in turn get benefited by them thus
making it a symbiotic relationship. This is shown in the
Figure 2.
Each action in smart grid, no matter how small, would
be initiated with a motive to increase the above factors.
To elaborate on this, let say the voltage at a bus came to
a level warranting an automatic compensation switching
(ACS). The cause for this could be increase in the reac-
tive load or because a line was taken out of service for
maintenance. The switching in of Reactive support action
qualified for all the benefits of the smart grid in the fol-
lowing ways:
1) The ACS increased the flexibility as it allowed the
reactive loading to be increased. The grid could adapt to
the changing environment.
2) Since the VARS are locally supplied, the line cur-
rent magnitude decreases and so does the ohmic losses
Figure 2. In a smart grid interfaces each constituents con-
tributes to the smart grid benefit pool and gets benefited by
it in turn.
associated with the lines. This enhances the efficiency.
3) The automatic switching over increases the reliabil-
ity as is dependent upon tested and demonstrated algo-
rithms and free from the operator’s temporary incompe-
tencies, short comings and biases.
4) The loss in the voltage is partially or fully compen-
sated by the ACS and so the security is increased as now
the bus can supply additional reactive loading under con-
5) The control system is one time investment and
would be cheaper than having an operator to do the job.
Further, the fall in the quality of supply has been arrested
by minimizing the duration for which all the voltage was
low or below acceptable level.
Generation systems which are as of now primarily
thermal based (coal, gas or nuclear) are the most inflexi-
ble. The start-up cost of these plants is so high that the
operators tend not to vary the output from these by more
+5% and –15%. These are the base loads plants. Plants
based on renewable energy sources like wind and solar
photovoltaic are now being integrated in the grid and
have much shorter start-up time, but are affected by the
vagaries of nature. It is expected that once the energy
storage systems are in place, the generation aspect of the
grid can be made more “smarter”.
Automated control of the transmission system using
devices like FACTS, HVDC has made the transmission
system more intelligent [1]. The control action of the
commercially deployed FACTS and HVDC systems is
based on the locally available/measured power system
variables. Work is going on to make these devices re-
sponsive to system vide disturbances. This has been fa-
cilitated by advances in the numerical protection and
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future 167
communication technology. An entity which is com-
monly being proposed for systems vide control is syn-
chrophasor [2]. Synchrophasors would measure the volt-
age phasor at the bus to which they are connected, time
stamp it and exchange it periodically with other syn-
chrophasors or wide area controllers. The control action
of the FACTS or other such devices would then be re-
sponsive to the system vid e conditions. Such architecture
is shown in the Figure 3.
Advantages of a smart grid were discussed in [3] and
broad architecture and Smart Grid concepts were dis-
cussed in [4]. An useful overview of smart grid was pre-
sented in [5]. This paper gave lot of information on
Smart Grid architecture, challenges, smart distribution
network etc. The concept of smart homes was also dis-
cussed. This paper substantiates the Smart Grid concepts
with some concrete proposals. The focus of the paper is
on one of the specific applications of the smart grid
namely the consumers. Some ideas to smartise the con-
sumer houses are discussed in this paper. The ideas/
concepts are not definitive. It is seen from the concepts
proposed that it would not be difficult to have smart
homes. The aim is to develop the generic concepts into
more concrete proposals and solutions which would be
step closer to the implementation of the technologies.
2. Smarter Homes—Components Overview
A smart meter is a gas or electricity meter that has me-
tering as well as communication capab ilities. It measures
energy consumption and allows data to be read remotely
and displayed on a device within the home, or transmitted
securely externally. The meter can also receive informa-
Figure 3. Use of facts devices in conjunction with synchro-
phasors for automated control of transmission system.
tion remotely, e.g. to update tariff information or switch
from credit to prepayment mode [6]. Realizing the bene-
fits of smart grid would, however, need much more than
smart meters. Building smarter homes would need
smarter energy controllers which also have smart meter-
ing capabilities. Smarter homes, in the parlance of the
smart grid, have their appliances and sources controlled
in such manner that the five objectives of the smart grid
are optimally met. It is important to note the use of the
term optimal otherwise the home would not be smart but
expensive. The architecture of a typical smart home
could be as shown in the Figure 4.
2.1. Main Controller or the Smart Controller
The Main controller consists of hardware and software
and is an intelligent, programmable device capable of
performing metering, computations, numerical process-
ing, running optimization subroutines, establishing bi-
directional communication with the Smart Grid Control
centre (SGCC) and making decisions based on the speci-
fied real time constraints. It would also have direct con-
trol capability of the electrical app liances.
2.2. Smart Grid Control Centre (SGCC)
In short, SGCC would be the smart controllers gateway
to the energy world. The SGCC would be owned and
operated by a regulatory body on behalf of energy sup-
pliers and is a powerful computer that performs the func-
tion of energy exchange and energy database. The scope
of the information in the energy database of SGCC could
vary depending upon the features offered to the end user.
Typically the information contained in the exchange
would consist of the following, though not all the infor-
mation contained in the database would be accessible to
Figure 4. Architecture for smarter homes. Functions may
be integrated in one device or split as required.
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Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future
all of the users:
1) Past, spot and the future energy prices from various
suppliers and other associated costs, like lock in period,
offers, discounts etc.
2) If more than one rate is applicable, than the ti me of
day at which the each rate is applicable would be dis-
3) Information regarding the traded volumes.
4) Information regarding various users/connected mem-
bers of the SGCC and their profiles.
It would, typically, be owned and operated by a regu-
latory body on beh a lf of energy suppliers.
2.3. Sources of Energy
The sources of energy could be one, more or all of the
following a) electric supply from the grid b) gas supply
and/or c) other locally available supplies like building
integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), a small local wind tur-
bine with output of few kilowatt and energy storage.
2.4. Controlled Appliances
The controlled appliances would be the various energy
consuming devices in the home. No special intelligence
is required in these devices although it may be helpful to
have some degree of intelligence. To make the subse-
quent discussion easier, the controlled appliances/loads
can be classified as Type-A, Type-B and Type-C. This
classification of loads is not exhaustive nor a standard
classification and is relevan t to this paper only.
Type-A loads are those types which do not allow
much flexibility in terms of the switching their
switching cannot be timed i.e. switching cannot be
much delayed or advanced and are either continuous
or intermittent following a definite pattern. The ex-
amples are Refrigerator, lighting loads, domestic en-
tertainment appliances, and appliances required dur-
ing the cooking etc.
Type-B loads are those which offer flexibility in
terms of the switching i.e. there switching can be
timed. The examples are washing machine, dryers,
dish washers, etc. These operate and switch off auto-
matically after the process is complete.
Type-C loads are those types which do offer flexibil-
ity in terms of switching but need human intervention.
Examples of this type of load are electric iron, vac-
uum cleaners etc.
2.5. Network Interfaces
The main controller interacts with the SGCC through
network interfaces. The network interface could be elec-
trical or an optical interface or combination of these. Ad-
ditionally the interface could be built in the controller.
2.6. MMI Console or the User Interface
The MMI console allows the house owner to interact
with the controller, access the information on the SGCC,
change the settings, update the software, configure the
controller etc.
2.7. The Controller to Appliances Interface
This interface consists of switching devices, typically
relays. Based on the commands from the controller, the
relays would switch in or switch out the power to the
individual appliances. This interface could be integrated
with the main controller or could be a separate module.
Modern day multifunction relays used in the protection
and control application s allow seamless integration of the
controller and switc hing interface.
3. The Main Controller
The main controller is a computer which also houses the
software required to build the energy related intelligence
in the houses. It can, however, be programmed to do
much more [7]. The functionalities that can built in the
controller are enormous and would depend upon the local
energy architecture like the sources of the energy avail-
able to the controlled area, variety and the diversity of
the loads etc.
3.1. Features of Controller in a Simple Residential
or Similar Kind of Controlled Area
In typical residential system the controller would do fol-
lowing tasks:
1) It would receive synchronizing pulses from the
Smart Grid Control centre (SGCC) so that the clock in
the main controller reads the same time as the SGCC
2) The main controller would contact the SGCC peri-
odically and download the energy updates.
3) It will download the latest energy prices from the
SGCC and use that information to work out the energy
usage charges with the present supplier.
4) Based on the spot and the future prices of the en-
ergy, switching costs, mandatory lock in period of the
present energy supplier and the anticipated/future energy
consumption it would decide whether there is any sup-
plier which is cheaper than the present supplier and in
case it is so, it would initiate a switch over process. Al-
ternatively, the supplier changeover process could also
be initiated by user. The future energy consumption can
be forecasted by the controller based on the previous
energy trends or could keyed in by the user.
5) Type-B loads like washing machines, dryers, water
pumps etc. which are not contin uous and offer flexibility
in terms of switching should be switched when the rate
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Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future 169
of the energy is lowest. The controller can be pro-
grammed to extend su pplies to these load s only when the
energy rate is the lowest.
6) It would record the daily, weekly, monthly energy
consumption and would provide the details to the house
owner of the same on request.
7) It would also record the data related to quality of
supply for contractual and legal purpose.
8) The controller may switch on or switch off the reac-
tive power equipment in the controlled area depending
upon the prev ailing power factor and availability o f such
9) Controller could also be programmed to switch off
the lights in some parts of controlled area based on the
solar radiations so that lighting loads are switched on
only when required.
10) The controller could also be programmed to cut of
supplies automatically to the Typ e-C loads after a certain
time is elapsed. Loads like electric iron etc. are rarely
used for an hour. If the controller senses that the load is
on for more than an hour, it would assume that the load
has been left on inadvertently and would switch off the
supplies. This would prevent energy wastage and more
importantly a chance of fire.
3.2. Features of Controller with BIPV (Building
Integrated Photovoltaic) in the Controlled
BIPV is fast catching up as an alternative source of en-
ergy in regions receiving high density and periodicity of
sunshine and is the most common energy producing
source in the homes. The cost of the BIPV is cheapest
than all other photo voltaic systems because there is no
land cost involved. In addition to that BIPV convert part
of the incident radiations into electrical energy thus re-
ducing the cooling load. The cost of the energy from the
BIPV systems is cheaper than the energy from the fossil
fuel based sources provided the capital costs of the same
are not included. When the BIPV energy systems are also
integrated as one of the sources, the controller algorithm
needs to be modified to optimize/red uce the energy bills.
In such a case the controller, in addition to tasks in Sec-
tion 3.1, would also do the fol l owi n g:
1) Solar cells have a maximum power. The controllers
of the solar array keep the array biased at the maximum
power point so that maximum energy can be extracted
from the array for a particular value of incident solar
radiation. The main controller would keep a track of the
maximum energy that can extracted from the BIPV and
keep the energy extraction at this value. This would be
done even if it requires the switching of Type-B appli-
ances as the energy from the array is almost free. The
algorithm also requires that the user specifies the rating
of each of Type-B appliance allowing the controller to
decide which appliances should be switched on.
2) If the power corresponding to the maximum power
point is higher than the total connected load of the sys-
tem, than the additional en ergy fro m the BIPV is diverted
for the storage.
3) BIPV uses power conditioning equipment like in-
verters. These equipment create harmonics and power
factor related problems. The controller can have an algo-
rithm to switch on the required filters and the compensa-
tion equipment so that the power quality is not deterio-
3.3. Features of Controller with Energy Storage
Energy storage is an option used by some micro grids to
overcome the peak load demand. When the demand is
low, the excess energy is pumped into the storage system
and retrieved during the peaking time. The energy rates
charged to the consumers during the peaking times are
higher than the normal or the off peak rates. When the
storage system is part domestic energy system (as in the
case of BIPV) than controller algorithms should be de-
signed to pr ofit fro m spre ad between th e peak and the off
peak rates. The controller does the fo llowing functions in
addition to those listed in Sections 3.1 and 3.2:
1) It trea ts the storage sys tem as another Type-B load-
ing, activating its power conditioning equipment and
allows storage of energy when the energy tariff is low.
The power is retrieved from the storage when the higher
rates of energy apply.
2) It also keeps record of the full cycle efficiency of
the storage system. The full cycle losses in the storage
system and its associated auxiliary system should be
lower than the spread between the peak and the off peak
tariffs. If this is not so then energy cost would increase.
To demonstrate this let us assume a hypothetical case:
Let X be cost of unit of electricity per unit during peak
Let Y be cost of one unit of electricity during off peak
Let η be cyclic efficiency of the storage system i.e. if
A units are extracted from the grid for storage, the net
units available from the storage would be η × A. The
storage would be cost effective only when
It is important to understand that energy storage sys-
tems may have a cost benefit but may not necessarily be
energy efficient.
3.4. Features of Controller with Heating Systems
in Controlled Area
In some countries the cost of the electricity and gas in
terms of KWH are comparable and during the off-peak
hours the price of electricity may come cheaper than the
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future
price of the gas. This is in countries with high proportion
of the renewable generation (mainly Hydro) in the total
electricity generation. To maximize the revenue, the
off-peak rate of electricity sometimes is much lower than
the gas usage rate. In such countries the controller can
reduce the energy bills by switching the heating system
sources between gas and electricity. The switching over
is decided based on the spot prices of the gas and the
electricity and the efficiency of the gas and the electricity
based heating system. Not all loads can be designed to
have dual energy sources. Only the heating loads can be
switched over to the gas and the electricity. The control-
ler would have the intelligence to decide as which loads
allow switchover of the source. The algorithm for
switchover should consider the efficiencies of the gas
based and electricity based heating system.
Let Pe and Pg be the spot prices of electricity and gas
respectively. Let the efficiency of the heating system
based on the electricity and gas be ηe and ηg respectively.
Switchover of the heating system from gas to electricity
would be made if
eg g
 (2)
3.5. Remote Access Features
One of the major advantages of the smart controller
would be its capability to allow the owner with remote
access. Any user, through the SGCC, can access the con-
troller on internet from a remote location through a secure
password based system. The user can than turn on and
turn off the appliances, turn off the main energy inputs.
This feature can reduce the accidents caused by the ap-
pliances left on by the users during the vacations. Alter-
natively, the main controller can be programmed to turn
off certain appliances i.e. Type-C and Type-B loads
when it detects inactivity in the house for a certain p eriod.
Typical functions in a smart controller are shown in
Figure 5.
Figure 5. Typical functions in a smart home c ontroller .
4. Smart Grid Control Centre
The main controller is interfaced with the SGCC an d the
optimization algorithms running in the controller require
lot of inputs from the SGCC. Without the information
from the SGCC, the controller has to rely on the stored
information. The optimization routines would, than, not
be able to take the actions according to the latest energy
information. The Smart Grid Control Centre is like an
energy exchange. In a smart grid the functions that would
be performed by the SGCC are:
1) Each geographical region would have an SGCC and
all the suppliers and consumers in that region would be
connected to the SGCC.
2) Each consumer w ould have an accoun t in the SG CC.
The consumer can access this account to see the informa-
tion related to them. The consumers can also forecast
their energy consumption and inform the energy supplier
about the forecasts through the SGCC. Based on the ac-
curacy of the forecasts the supplier may chose to reward
the consumer.
3) It would act as an energy database storing informa-
tion about the energy system.
4) An important aspect of the SGCC is that would act
as a backup information storage system. The main con-
troller would access the SGCC periodically and log in the
user data like energy consumed, the applicable rates, the
energy supplier details, the information related to power
quality etc. Thus any information which has financial
and/or contractual implications would be stored at the
SGCC and the local controller da tabase.
5) The suppliers would access the SGCC to put in their
latest offers, update the spot and the future prices, know
the total consumers availing their services and at the
same time know about the consumption patterns of their
consumers. This information is not available to the con-
6) The SGCC can also keep credit reports of the con-
sumers. This would be accessible only to the suppliers.
7) The consumers access the SGCC, through their PC,
connected to the controller or through the World Wide
Web, to check the spot and the future energy prices, ini-
tiate the changeover to a different supplier and know
about their consumption patterns.
8) The SGCC would also contain information about
the service levels of each supplier (Figure 6).
9) It can also act as a gateway for the consumer com-
plaints. The information regarding the complaints for
each supplier would be stored in the complaint database
and would be published periodically to allow consumers
to decide the supplier they would like to choose.
10) It would also be an information centre for the con-
sumers to inform them about the energy related outages,
blackouts, restoration activities, present and future short-
ages. This would allow the consumers to plan accordingly.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future 171
Figure 6. Typical Information in SGCC
11) The SGCC would also house information for each
supplier according to the source of energy i.e. from the
renewable, non ren ewable, nuclear etc.
12) The energy policy changes, either initiated by the
government or by the suppliers, would be published on
the SGCC and would be accessed by the consumers.
5. Automated Processes
The smart grid opens the possibility of setting up auto-
matic processes beneficial to all the users of the smart
grid. In particular are the processes which would allow
the consumers an improved level of the services and re-
duce the amount spent on the energy either by reducing
the energy consumption or by choosing cheaper source.
Three such processes are discussed below.
5.1. The Supplier Changeover Process
Supplier changeover process would consist of following
1) The supplier changeover process could be initiated
either manually by the consumer or by the main control-
ler based on the underlying spot and future prices of en-
ergy, the changeover costs and the forecasted future en-
ergy consumption.
2) In an automatic changeover process, the controller
periodically evaluates the information about the energy
prices in the SGCC and works out the economics. In the
manual change over process, the controller would be
asked to start the changeover process when instructed by
the user.
3) Once the economics or the other factors decide in
favor of the changeover, or the controller is manually
instructed by the user, the controller sends a message to
the SGCC requesting it formally to make the changeover.
4) The new (prospective) supplier is forwarded with
the details of the consumer and if the credentials of the
consumer are accepted by the new supplier, a confirma-
tion is issued to the consumer for the formal taking over.
At the same time the supplier also issues the terms and
conditions or the contract. The terms and conditions
would also be displayed on the SGCC, under the user
profile, as these would influence the changeover decision.
However as an additional security, the contract is sent to
the user in digital format.
5) The consumer would accept the contract or it would
be deemed to be accepted if not rejected within a certain
6) Once the contract is accepted or deemed to have
been accepted, an acceptance is sent back to the supplier
and also one copy of the accepted contract is stored in the
7) The contract is given a unique number and this
number is conveyed to the consumer and the supplier.
The consumer and the supplier can also allocate their
own contract numbers internally. However, in the energy
market, the contract would identified by the number
given by S GCC.
8) The SGCC sends the information to the existing
supplier for the changeover receives the confirmation
from the supplier and forwards the confirmation to the
user or the controller.
9) The SGCC also debits the account of the user based
on the total energy consumed till the chang eover is com-
plete and also debits the user account with the change-
over costs.
10) The debits made from the account of the user are
than credited to the respective supplier (generally the
outgoing supplier) accounts.
11) The meter reading may be reset. The new tariff is
stored in the controller which would work out the energy
consumption of the user. The changeover process is than
formally complete. The changeover flow is depicted in
Flow Chart in Appendix I.
5.2. Complaint Addressal Mechanism
Smart Grid has the potential to substantially reduce the
billing related complaints. This is because the consumers
can not only monitor their energy consumption but also
the rates at which the energy is billed. As these details
would be available online as well as locally, the chances
of the error would reduce and so would the complaints.
Advantages of the smart grid go beyond these issues. The
smart grid can aid impartial and fair investigation against
the complaints. This is because not only more data is
available but also the data is sto red at two different loca-
tions. These details would act as a proof when the con-
sumer wants to lodge a complaint against the existing
supplier. The complaint mechanism would be:
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future
1) The consumer lodges a complaint in the SGCC de-
scribing the complaint. The complaint could either be
billing related or quality of power supply related.
2) The details of the complaint are investigated with
the data from the SGCC. In case of doubts, the data from
main controller is requested. The data stored in the
SGCC in the consumers account has a back up in the
controll e r hard disk.
3) The reports of the investigation are forwarded to the
consumer and necessary action is taken by the supplier.
4) If the investigations prove that the supplier is at
fault, than the consumer can be adequately compensated.
5) A complaint database is also maintained and if the
complaints are proved to be genuine than it is moved to
public view database and helps the other consumers’
proper selection of sup pli e r.
6) Complaints which remain unsolved for a particular
time are moved to another public view database. The
complaint database would record the name of the suppli-
ers and it would help the consumers is determining the
quality of the services offered by the supplier.
5.3. Automated Billing and Collection
The automated billing mechanism would benefit the
customer by reducing the work involved in making the
periodic payments and at the same time reduces the work
put in by the energy suppliers by reducing the collection
efforts. The steps involved in an automated billing and
collection mechanism are:
1) The suppliers set up the payment options like pay-
ment every month based on the actual energy consumed
or payment when the energy amount exceeds a particular
2) The customer chooses a particular payment method
depending upon the available options.
3) The Customer provides the bank account details and
authorizes the supplier to deduct the payments from the
account either after a fixed date or fixed amount based on
the energy consumption exceeding the fixed amount. The
payment terms are agreed mutually and form a part of the
contract stored in the SGCC and the controller.
4) The details of the payments are also stored in the
main controller.
5) The energy consumption details are sent everyday
by the controller to the SGCC which than forwards these
details to the relevant supplier.
6) Based on the payment options chosen by the con-
sumer, the supplier raises the bill and sends it to the
SGCC for onward forwarding to the consumer. The bill
not only includes the amount but also the date when
amount would be dedu cted from the account.
7) The consumer can verify the details like energy
consumption et c. from the data availa bl e in the cont r oll e r.
8) The supplier sends a confirmation to the customer
once the payment has been credited. The records are
stored in the SGCC for certain duration. The payment
records are also stored in the main controller.
6. Summary
The paper discusses some concepts and capabilities that
could be built in smarter homes. Smart home ideas are
still evolving and so many of the ideas would still be
infantile stages and could take a different course than
mentioned in the paper. It is, however, now established
that renewable energy sources would play an important
role in the smart grid.
The paper not only discusses the architecture that
could be used but also proposes some automated proc-
esses to realize the smart grid. These processes may not
be complete in all the functionality of smart homes but
do let readers know as what degree of fun ctiona lity could
be expected from smart homes. Smart grid architecture
can offer tremendous advantages to the consumers in
terms of monetary savings and the improvement in the
level of services. The main advantages that would accrue
to a consumer are:
1) Better energy prices because of more competition.
2) Improved services because of the increased service
3) More easy for the consumers to legally switch over
the suppliers and th e pr ocess is also faster.
4) Consumers can be compensated for th e poor quality
of supply.
5) Integration of the home based renewable energy
systems with the home energy system can be made easier.
6) Automated load con trolling algorithm located in the
main controller can help in distribution of the load over
time which is beneficial to the grid.
However, it’s not only the consumers which would
benefit by this. Details of consumers who have been con-
sistently fleecing the suppliers would be recorded in the
SGCC server and the suppliers can access this to deter-
mine whether the new consumer applicant has a worthy
credit rating. This means that the SGCC would store the
energy related credit rating of the local consumers. This
database would be confidential and only accessible to the
suppliers. Thus smart homes can benefit the suppliers
and the consumers.
[1] Y. H. Songs and A. T. Johns, “Flexible AC Transmission
Systems (FACTS),” Institution of Engineering and Tech-
nology (IET), London, 1999.
[2] A. G. Phadge and J. S. Thorp, “Synchronized Phasor
Measurement and Their Applications,” Springer, New
York, 2008.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
[3] B. R. Flynn, “Key Smart Grid Applications,” Protection
and Control Journal, No. 8, 2009, pp. 29-34.
[4] L. Sollecito, “Smart Grid: The Road Ahead,” Protection
and Control Journal, No. 8, 2009, pp. 15-19.
[5] T. Vijayapriya and D. P. Kothari, “Smart Grid: An Over-
view,” Smart Grid and Renewable Energy Journal, Vol. 2,
No. 4, 2011, pp. 305-311. doi:10.4236/sgre.2011.24035
[6] OFFGEM, “Smart Metering—What It Means for Brit-
ain’s Homes,” Fact Sheet 101, March 2011.
[7] DSP Group, “DECT Home Networking—The Next Step
in Home Automation,” DSP White Paper, July 2011.
Appendix I
The Supplier Changeover Process
Supplier Change over request initiated
manually by the end user. Data fro m SGCC
Pro cess works out the
cheapest supplier
Is t he pr es ent
supplier che a pe s t?
Inform the user and wait for the
confirmation or if allowed by the
user, auto matically go to next stage
Start the Changeover by sending the
req ue st to the SGCC
SGCC for wards the request with the
details of the customer to the new /
To the next page
Is the new supplier
ready to take over?
SGCC informs the main
controller. The main controller
ends the process and avoids
changeover with this supplier
for a predetermined time.
Smart Grid, Smart Controllers and Home Energy Automation—Creating the Infrastructure for Future
The new supplier sends the details of the contract to the customer through the SGCC. SGCC provides an
uni que number to the cont ract an d forwards i t to th e customer and s tores a cop y of the sa me for fut ure
ref erence. Th e cont ract is deemed to be accep ted if not rej ected by t he custom er in the p redefi ned time
Is the contract rejected?
SGCC in forms t he new suppli er of the
acceptance and at this stage the SGCC also
informs th e old supplier of th e changeover.
SGCC work s out th e dues wit h the existing su pplier s and inform s
th e customer of the s ame.
The customer pays the dues or if agreed previously dues are
ded uct e d from th e acc oun t of the cu stom er. In eith er ca se, th e dues
are cr edited to the account of old supplier.
The proc ess E N DS
SG CC Terminates proce ss
and info r ms th e cus tomer and
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