In the run up to European Utility Week 2014, Roland Stader, director energy automation, Telecommunications & IT, at German Stadtwerke Konstanz, shares his thoughts on meter data, locally-owned utilities and sustainability.

With regard to smart metering deployment, what would you identify as being the main differences between the needs of the smaller and medium-sized DSOs and larger utilities?
In my opinion, there are not so many differences regarding the pure deployment of smart meters – that case can be handled. There are more differences between the needs of the data flow, the whole process, and IT as well as networking issues. Smaller companies normally do not have that experience in running complex data-network or IT-infrastructures.

Do you believe there is much that larger utilities can learn from locally-owned Stadwerkes?
Larger utilities can learn from Stadtwerkes to be flexible but also sustainable. The smaller Stadtwerkes are not purely capital driven, because they are mostly owned by municipalities. So they do have intentionally a long-term way of thought.

Regarding business models, do you think that the locally-owned and smaller-scale utilities (which are so prevalant in Germany) might become the norm as large utilities are forced to break up?
No, I don’t think so. Currently there are tendencies of some cities to re-communalising or to build up new utilities, but I assume, these are individual cases.

What are you most interested in learning at European Utility Week 2014?
European tendencies and development in Smart Metering and Smart Grids as well as some practical experience in convergence of fibre optic networks with energy automation aspects.

Roland Stader will be speaking at the dedicated sessions on Local Energy Disctributors within the Case Study Programme, taking place on the exhibition floor. Join his presentation on Tuesday 4 November, 15.00-15.20,“German Challenges for Smart Meters for a Medium Sized DSO in the Context of Local Smart Microgrids”. 

Have a look at our full programme and register to join us in Amsterdam in November!