EnEf in Distribution

The distribution of electricity is one of the segments of a single chain of electricity, which consists of power generation, transmission and distribution, and consumption of electricity. Given that the average loss in transmission and distribution on a global scale is approximately 9%, and as such is significantly smaller than the losses that occur in the genearation and consumption of electricity, the expected effects on the overall energy efficiency that can be achieved through measures in the distribution of electricity are smaller in comparison to what can be achieved in the other two segments. Yet there is room for improvement and thus significant efforts are being undertaken in distribution activities of JP EPBiH aimed at continuous reduction of distribution losses as an indicator of energy efficiency. There are two general areas to which these efforts are directed. The first area is called. “Supply Side” i.e. distribution grid itself, where a wide range of measures is applied aimed at the distribution of electricity from the point of takeover from the transmission network to the point of delivery to end users, in order to perform it with lowest possible losses.

Some of the typical measures for improvement of energy efficiency in the supply carried out in the distribution activities of JP EPBiH are:

  • Increasing the cross sections of distribution lines,
  • Reducing the number of voltage levels and moving to higher distribution voltages,
  • Interpolation of substations and reduction of the length of distribution lines
  • Reconfiguration of the network,
  • Use of materials and equipment with reduced losses
  • Compensation of reactive energy

Besides these, there is a large number of different measures of organizational nature aimed at reducing the so-called commercial losses that occur as a result of unauthorized and unregistered electricity consumption, that are being taken.

Efforts to reduce distribution losses have been in the focus of distribution activity for over ten years, and the commitment of significant material and human resources in order to implement the above, and a series of other measures, resulted in valuable achievements. For purpose of illustration, we may mention that in 1999 the average distribution losses amounted to 12.28% of gross distribution consumption and the same data for 2011 shows the average distribution losses of 9.49%. Specified value of distribution losses in JP EPBiH indicate a higher level of energy efficiency in the distribution segment in comparison with most power companies in the region.

The second area in which the activity of distribution JP EPBIH directs its activities to improve energy efficiency is “Demand Side" Improving energy efficiency on the demand side is achieved through a variety of programs and measures aimed to influence the amount or timing of electricity use by end users in order to reduce energy consumption and peak demand in the distribution system. One such measure is the power limit prescribed in the “General Conditions for the Supply of Electricity”, and which is applied to customers whose peak power is less than or equal to 23 kW. Given that these measures are relatively recent, their actual effects on energy efficiency have not been evaluated so far, but it is generally expected that balancing of peak load in the distribution system affects the efficient utilization of existing distribution capacities and delays necessity to build new capacities.

An important technical precondition for more intensive application of measures to improve energy efficiency on the demand side is the installation of adequate equipment to measure power at end users. These measuring devices known as smart meters provide customers with more relevant information on the amount and the way in which they use electricity on the basis of which they can change their usual patterns of consumption and make positive impacts both for their own and the energy efficiency at the level of entire community. The use of smart electricity meters in the distribution began in 2010 and currently approximately 40,000 customers have such meters.

In parallel with the installation of these meters we are working on their introduction into the system of remote reading and management (AMR/AMM system). Building of AMR/AMM systems, which currently includes about 22,000 smart meters, will enable further development of various programs and measures for improvement of energy efficiency in power consumption. Full implementation of this system, which will require significant financial and organizational resources, is one of the priorities for the distribution activity in the period ahead.