Smart Energy International spoke with Susanne Seitz, Executive Vice President EMEA, Landis+Gyr about the evolving metering sector, digitalisation and European Utility Week.

How is the metering sector evolving and where do you see this continuing into the next decade?

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International 5-2019. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

Decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation are the main drivers in the ongoing disruption of the energy industry. Society is increasingly aware of the topic of climate change and sustainability – just think about the ‘Fridays for Future’ activities throughout Europe. These dynamics bring new challenges for utilities in their task of providing grid resilience, flexibility and security. Key to mastering them will be leveraging the data that intelligent endpoints provide at the grid edge. For our customers this means the use of advanced metering infrastructure data does not stop at billing but can also be utilised for power quality and flexibility management plus load disaggregation as well as data-driven applications for an enhanced consumer engagement.

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International 5-2019. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

How do you see these changes tying into the greater power, water or gas sector globally? In EMEA specifically?

Digitalisation is a global trend and a key driver in power, water and gas. In such a transitional market environment, we need to move as quickly as possible to smart infrastructure for all forms of energy distribution and use all the available data to manage our resources as efficiently as possible. The EMEA market is very fragmented in terms of advanced metering infrastructure deployments and regulations but it is still among the largest and fastest growing AMI regions in the world. Largescale smart metering deployments including so-called first wave and second wave installations – are already offering enormous potential in France, the UK, the Netherlands and Sweden.

What do you believe are the biggest immediate challenges facing the sector, and what solutions would you propose?

Simply put, the industry is in a phase of disruption. Utilities have a lot more on their minds than the traditional challenge of securing the supply of reliable, affordable energy. Today there is increasing pressure to provide environmentally responsible energy, comply with ever-changing regulatory requirements, make future-proof investment decisions and raise their game on consumer engagement. In addition, there are new technologies being introduced to help them harness and leverage data. Utilities need to decide where to build up resources with new competences and which parts of their operations to outsource. We work closely with our customers to provide products and services which offer flexibility, efficiency and cybersecurity for navigating these current and future demands. A perfect example is our freshly launched integrated offering called Gridstream Connect – a flexible, scalable IoT platform that brings together intelligent endpoints, communications, software and applications.

What is the one thing you know today that you wish you had known when you first started in this sector?

Well, I am not new to the energy sector, I was serving a different part of the value chain. Overall, the industry is still learning what digitalisation means for investment decisions and for daily operations of the distribution network. Digitalisation brings many benefits, but also entails risks which need to be proactively managed. I believe that the market will move to a lifecycle business model. This means that continuous updates of the smart metering infrastructure, for example firmware updates on meters and software, will be necessary to support grid stability and resilience while providing additional value to consumers. Investing once and then waiting for the end of the warranty period will be a thing of the past quite soon. Utilities need to be aware of this when planning new projects.

Do you believe that being a woman in a traditionally male sector is an advantage and if so, why?

I have worked in male-dominated industries during my whole career. I do not believe that gender has been an advantage – nor a disadvantage. I do believe that diversity in a broader sense makes for higher performing teams and brings better results.

What does becoming Executive Vice President EMEA mean for you and for the company more specifically in terms of your vision and focus?

Over the next decade, many more utilities will deploy advanced metering infrastructures and demand is sure to increase for solutions and software that can help them streamline operations, reduce costs, minimise risk and provide more reliable customer service. My focus will be to help utilities leverage those benefits from their investments and to expand our utility IoT solutions to further grid-edge solutions enabling the digital transformation. I’m particularly excited about our ability to offer alternative operational models for utilities with our modular managed services offering. We already have tremendous experience in outsourced utility processes with more than 14 million meter points under managed services worldwide.

At this year’s EUW in Paris, Landis+Gyr is presenting an energy journey to its customers and booth visitors. What are your key thoughts behind this?

Our track record as a proven partner for utilities of all sizes located across the globe is unparalleled, meaning we have a wealth of knowledge. It goes without saying that we are experts in advanced metering infrastructure technology and know the relevance of our service offering all the way through to the possibilities of data analytics. We also know how to manage large rollouts and understand the challenges utilities face. This broad expertise is reflected in our EUW theme ‘Experience what‘s next‘, which looks at our industry’s opportunities and challenges from the perspective of a utility. We are taking our booth visitors on a journey – from getting started and choosing the right technology to building an Internet of Things environment and ultimately maximising their leverage of smart data.

What is the main message you would like our readers to take away from this interview?

“Managing energy better” has probably never been more relevant than in today’s world. We can play a major role in partnering with utilities to tackle the various and complex challenges they face, from grid resilience, flexibility and security to distributed energy resource management and demand response. SEI

ABOUT SUSANNE SEITZ

Susanne Seitz is executive vice president, head of EMEA Region (Europe, Middle East and Africa), and a member of the group executive management at Landis+Gyr. In this role, her focus is on enhancing the company’s leadership position and driving sustained profitable growth across the EMEA region.

Seitz holds a master’s degree in Environmental Technology from ETH Zurich and an Executive MBA from the University of St. Gallen. She also completed further studies in the area of risk and safety of technical systems at ETH Zurich. Before joining Landis+Gyr in 2018, Seitz held leading positions at Siemens Building Technologies for 15 years.

Landis+Gyr are exhibiting at European Utility Week and can be found at exhibition booth C80.

Representatives will be speaking in the following Hub Sessions:

  • 12 November: Consumers and the Digital Utility
  • 13 November: Smart Metering
  • 14 November: IoT for Utilities