The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) has plans underway to install 158,000 new smart electric meters for residential and commercial customers.The smart meters will be installed so that reading consumption and management of electrical services can be done remotely.
The deployment of the new meters will take place over a period of three years. The Institute has already installed 38,000 smart meters in an effort to modernise it network.
According to a company release, the purchase and deployment costs associated with the smart meters amounts to $ 13.6 million.
The smart electricity meters will be introduced gradually and will replace conventional or electromechanical meters in the regions where the Institute is in charge of the electrical distribution.
Jorge Rodríguez, director of the Advanced Measurement Infrastructure Project at ICE, summarized some of the benefits that could be realised with the expanded rollout of smart meters.
These benefits include savings in operational expenses in the manual reading of meters, as well as the remote shutoff or reconnection of customer connections.
Rodríguez adds that the new meters offer greater accuracy in measuring and obtaining information in real time, making management more efficient; compliance with the regulatory laws in terms of monitoring voltage - aspects that ensure the quality of the service provided.
Furthermore, the applications offered by the smart grid will allow other services to be offered to customers, such as online billing and prepaid services, which are currently being developed.
The second phase of the rollout is funded partly by the Institute and funds from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Smart grid Latin America
In a related news report, president of Ericsson’s industry and society division for Latin America said the utilities sector in the region "offers the largest business opportunity for applying smart technologies" but a lack of regulation is holding back smart grid deployments.
Speaking to news source BNamericas at the recently held Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ericsson's Jo Arne Lindstad said its work in Latin America is focused on three core areas to develop smart solutions in the region, investing in transport and public safety (smart cities), utilities and financial services.
The Swedish provider of communications technology and services said that while the transport and public safety sectors provide the bulk of opportunities, utilities hold the most promise of “unprecedented magnitude” for the application of smart technologies, albeit a slow sales cycle. Read more
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