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Smart grid routemap for U.K. published

[img:ensg.thumbnail.jpg| ]London, U.K. --- (METERING.COM) --- February 18, 2010 - The British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the regulator Ofgem have published a smart grid routemap comprising a high level description of the way in which a U.K. smart grid could be delivered to contribute to the realization of government carbon targets and end-customer benefits.

The routemap, which was developed by the Electricity Networks Strategy Group (ENSG), is aimed at realizing the U.K.’s smart grid vision (see Smart grid vision for U.K. developed). The focus is on three critical smart grid roles for the nation’s planned low carbon transition up to 2050 – the integration of inflexible generation, the electrification of transport and heating, and the integration of distributed energy resources (DER).

The three high level objectives are carbon reduction, energy security, and economic competitiveness and affordability in delivering a cost effective low carbon transition.

The ENSG believes that it is critical to deliver a range of well targeted pilot projects between 2010 and 2015 in which the feasibility, costs and benefits of smart grid technology can be tested, and in the expectation that many of them will prove to be technically and economically successful and therefore available for U.K.-wide application from 2015 onwards. Further, any smart grid developments must create the right mix of technical, commercial, industry and regulatory changes to overcome a diverse set of challenges.

Accordingly, four tiers of projects and trials have been identified, with increasing customer interaction, value chain integration and commercial/regulatory development required, as the projects types move from tier 1 to tier 4. The four tiers are:
Individual technology, e.g. dynamic line rating Multiple integrated technologies, e.g. network monitoring, control and optimization Customer and technology integration, e.g. distributed generation and ultra low carbon vehicles implementation End-to-end integration, e.g. intelligent conurbation linking all elements of the value chain. In particular, the ENSG would emphasize a prioritized, coordinated and concerted approach to public engagement, security and data privacy, the development of common and open standards and any identified cross industry changes. Critical also is getting the customer on board as a key participant.

To do this effectively requires linkages across government policy, regulatory development and industry-wide change programs with a particular emphasis on the relationship between smart metering and wider smart grid developments. The smart grid routemap must recognize the smart meter rollout program and respect its timetable.

Given the uncertainty over the precise nature of the U.K.’s future end to end energy system, the routemap is expected to evolve over time.

To view the routemap click here.

Feed-in tariff regulations introduced in Ontario

[img:Dalton.thumbnail.jpg|Dalton McGuinty,
Ontario Premier]Toronto, ON, Canada --- (METERING.COM) --- September 28, 2009 - Feed-in tariff (FIT) regulations offering long-term price guarantees for renewable electricity generators have been introduced in Ontario as part of the province’s Green Energy Act.

The FIT program is aimed at increasing investor confidence and making it easier to finance energy projects, and it is expected to encourage billions of dollars in investment to help Ontario’s energy supply mix become one of the cleanest in North America, the Ontario government said in a statement.

China’s State Grid Corp to build smart grid by 2020

[img:china.thumbnail.jpg| ]Beijing, China --- (METERING.COM) --- May 25, 2009 - China’s power distribution monopoly State Grid Corporation has set a goal of building a smart grid by 2020 to improve efficiency and distribute power more flexibly, the company’s president, Liu Zhenya, was reported as saying last week.

The “strong and smart grid” would help increase the share of clean energy in China’s energy mix. With the smart grid completed in 2020, China’s clean energy installed capacity is expected to increase to 570 million kW, a 35 percent share of the total, State Grid said.

Mixed reactions to pay-as-you-go meters in Western Australia

[img:australia-flag_0.gif| ]Perth, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- June 17, 2008 – Prepayment, or pay-as-you-go meters, are being trialed in several communities in Western Australia, and reactions to the new system are mixed.

The Western Australia Office of Energy is positive about the concept, saying that it offers an option to those families who have difficulty meeting their obligations to pay for energy use monthly. A prepayment meter also allows the cost of power to be shared among family members.

Energy Softworx

Click here to find out more about Energy Softworx

Energy Softworx is a leading provider of fuel management software for power generators. Energy Softworx helps users solve operational challenges through software solutions that combine a strong mix of technological innovation with business skills to manage both solids (coal, biomass) and liquids (fuel oil, gas).

Batteries for smart meters

By Thomas Dittrich

Smart metering systems can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 percent, thus contributing to energy efficiency and climate protection. Batteries are used as the power source for gas, water and heat meters and must last between 10 and 20 years.

One typical application is an electronic gas meter using a lithium battery as the power source. The electronics require a mix of low and high currents to power microprocessors, sensors and flow measurement functions, and need a battery capacity of 16.2 Ah over 11.5 years without falling below 3.2 Volts when operating between -20OC and +60OC.

The City of Anaheim

Stephen NeesProbably best known for being home to Disneyland, the city of Anaheim is the regional hub for Orange County. Serving a population of roughly 340,000 people, the City of Anaheim Public Utilities Department strives to serve its customers with a blend of sophisticated technology and intrepid innovation. Smart Energy International interviewed Stephen Nees, Technology Development Manager, Public Utilities Department, City of Anaheim

Please start by telling us a bit about yourself.
Stephen Nees: I received a Bachelors in Psychology followed by a MBA. Then I worked in Federal Government – within Social Security in fact. After that there was a dramatic change as I joined a large US telecoms company, based in their IT department, and then I worked in the automobile industry. After that I joined AAA, which is very much a customer service organization. There I was the supervisor for their non-mainframe IT projects, with the move in the early 1990s from a single LAN to multiple-LAN. I was also involved in the development of their custom Graphic User Interface that integrated access to multiple systems. I moved to Fox Networks as their director of technical services – an extremely productive role that eventually led me into consulting for a few years. I then found myself working for the City of Anaheim Utilities Department, heading up all their IT initiatives.  

Give a brief history and a current overview of the utility.
SN: The City of Anaheim is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The water utility was started in 1879 and the electric utility in 1895. We have always been a municipal utility for both electric and water, with natural gas supplied to our city by SoCalGas. We have about 110,000 electric meters, 95,000 residential and 15,000 commercial.  The commercial meters account for over 70% of consumption and revenue.

What are some of the key challenges your utility faces?
SN: I would say putting together our MDM system. In early October we received approval to go ahead with the MDM and AMI programs. We will begin deploying AMR meters and building our AMI infrastructure. With this in mind, our key concern is the financial impact of these programs.

Please give us an overview of your utility’s metering operations.
SN: We will be installing four to six thousand smart meters within the next two years. We are building a core infrastructure now so that if legislation demands it, we will be ready for a quick mass rollout.

What plans do you have in place for implementing AMI, and what do you think are the key benefits?
SN: We see MDMS as the core of AMI, being useful for more than billing. To be honest, if we were only doing billing then manual meter reading is very effective and very cost-effective. But the MDMS has benefits when you start talking about linking to outage management and to your asset management system. And there are also a number of other uses, particularly on the engineering side, like moving towards a smart grid. We have a sophisticated SCADA environment and we will actually be tying the outage management system that is currently tied to our SCADA environment to our MDMS as well. The first phase is basically getting the meter data into our customer information system to support billing, to maintain our inventories and keep track of things. The second phase is the integration into the GIS (geospatial information system), the outage management and the asset management systems. And this is where we think the long-term benefits will be for us.

A little farther out, we are planning on using the MDMS with its repository capabilities to present information directly to the customer through the internet. We have introduced a residential TOU program, which needs smart meters. We are also planning to use the AMI infrastructure for some of our demand response programs. Programmable thermostats are becoming widely available and load control devices can be controlled through the meter systems, such as a currently available remote connect/disconnect feature.

From the environmental perspective, we expect we will save between 24,000 and 28,000 vehicle trips every year at full deployment. We are using RF mesh-enabled systems, although we will look at alternatives in a high rise environment. And this is where the MDMS comes in – if we need to bring in a third type of system, we can just add it on. It creates a lot more flexibility.

We are planning to start placing our first meters in late February 2008; by the end of the second quarter in 2009 we should have between 4000 and 6000 meters operational. What happens after that will depend on a mix of things – legislation, regulation, and the fact that we are trying to avoid making mistakes. Our goal is to be as cost-effective as possible, continuing to reward our customers with reduced rates.

What strategies have you implemented to strengthen your relationship with customers?
SN: We try to be as forward-looking as possible, while staying within the constraints of providing a high quality service at a fair price. For example we installed a completely underground substation, beneath a local park – the first of its type in the United States.

We also conducted a project at a local police station and community center using a natural gas fuel cell to power the entire facility, with any excess power being returned to the grid. A similar project was sponsored at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, with the installation of photovoltaic windows that help generate power for the center. There are also displays for the kids to understand how electricity is generated and distributed. We have also contracted some biomass energy, and over time this percentage will grow as technology improves. We also use geothermal and wind power, as well as natural gas generated power.

How do you manage customers who steal energy?
SN: Our department is very effective when it comes to prosecuting energy thieves. Then again, one of the things you give up with AMI is the eyes in the field, the meter readers walking their routes. But AMI will allow us to know immediately when a meter is tampered with, and during the process of smart meter deployment, we are likely to uncover more cases.

What is the vision for your utility?
SN: Simply put, we will continue to offer a very high quality of service through the use of technology at an affordable price. We are also concerned with reducing our environmental impact and so we are investing in renewable resources as well as increasing our percentage of natural gas combined cycle generation to reduce carbon footprint. We are in the process of getting approvals for building a 150 MW baseload plant within the city, adding to the 50 MW plant we currently run for peak loads.
Thank you for your input.

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Customers concerned about environmental issues

[img:chartwell_logo.thumbnail.jpg| ]Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- October 12, 2007 – Electric consumers are showing increasing concern about environmental issues, and North American utilities are offering programs that help their customers live a sustainable lifestyle, according to researcher Chartwell.

A recent Chartwell report, entitled Helping Customers Live a Sustainable Lifestyle, includes 11 case studies based on in-depth discussions with the leaders of a variety of utility-run eco-friendly programs, including premium green power offerings; assisting with customer-owned renewable generation; residential and commercial green building programs; and effective communication about renewables in the standard mix of energy sources.

Evaluating public-private partnerships in India

Conference: Metering, Billing/CRM India
Location: New Delhi, India
Presenter: Ashish Kanna
Abstract: Presented by Ashish Kanna at Metering, Billing/CRM India

While Indian GDP growth has been impressive, inadequate electricity services and power infrastructure compromise India’s poverty alleviation efforts, its economic competitiveness, and private investment in energy-dependent industry.  The key challenges in the power sector remain as low levels of access, inefficiently governed distribution sector, and insufficient generation:

India requires investments of approximately USD 150 billion in power sector during the eleventh plan, as per recent estimates of Planning Commission. Since public investments are not sufficient to provide adequate funding for the sector, and more importantly under existing institutional constraints in undertaking project management of such magnitude of capital expenditure (almost 3 times of current levels), Public Private Partnership (PPP) is increasingly being accepted as the most viable option of meeting power sector deficits.

The PPP process has evolved in each segment of power sector value chain over last decade. The PPP process in generation sector in India has moved from negotiated PPAs, to regulator approved Cost plus Power Purchase Agreements to now Tariff based Competitive Bidding process (as mandated under National Tariff Policy and now undertaken in recent ultra mega projects).  The transmission business has also witnessed success with Tala (a JV project for evacuation of power from Bhutan to India) and now WRSS projects which have been successfully bid through Independent Private Transmission Company (IPTC) route.

Distribution business has been tougher, where results on PPP have been mixed. The PPP options range from outright privatization of distribution business (in case of Orissa and Delhi), use of franchising (urban franchising in Maharashtra and rural franchising with different models across different Indian states) to outsourcing of different elements of business (practiced in most Indian states). The outsourcing initiatives range from outsourcing Metering Billing Collection (MBC) activities, energy audits, customer service centres, etc.

In terms of way forward for PPP opportunities, for Generation and Transmission projects, PPP options at state level still needs to be tested for private sector interest and viability. In distribution, each state would need to chart its way forward for PPP based on socio- economic context and levels of current institutional capacity. Some of specific constraints that impede development of PPP in power sector include in adequate contract management and bid process management skills, regulatory risks specifically legal and payment security mechanisms and financial losses in distribution sector. 

U.K. prepayment customers losing out by not switching

[img:buchanan.thumbnail.jpg|Alistair Buchanan,
Ofgem Chief
Executive ]London, U.K. --- (METERING.COM) --- June 28, 2007

New figures released yesterday by U.K. energy regulator Ofgem show that nationally prepayment meter customers are losing out on savings worth £250 million by not switching supplier.

This amounts to an average saving of around £100 a year for each customer who has not switched.

In a recent survey on prepayment meter satisfaction commissioned by Ofgem, it was found that few customers had tried to switch supplier and many saw little benefit in doing so, and that more information is needed on the suppliers and their prices.

As a result Ofgem yesterday launched a campaign to encourage prepayment meter customers to consider three options:
If they prefer a prepayment meter for budgeting they should look at changing supplierTo investigate if they are eligible for a special tariff deal that their supplier might offer, andTo consider changing to a cheaper payment option.

Average annual prepayment electricity bills were found to range from £356 with SSE to £435 with npower, and average annual prepayment gas bills from £560 with Scottish Power to £617 with British Gas.

Unlike other customers, prepayment meter customers are usually better off “pick and mixing”, with gas from one supplier and electricity from another rather than opting for a dual fuel deal.

Ofgem Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan said that prepayment meter customers should take advantage of the competitive market if they are to see further falls in their energy bills. “Customers should consider whether they would not be better off paying for their energy in another way, but if they prefer budgeting with prepayment meters then they also need to look closely at the many special deals suppliers are offering users.”

Link: U.K. prepayment meter customers express satisfaction

Smart Metering West Coast to feature home area networks

Home area networks (HANs) as an extension of AMI are starting to attract a lot of interest and accordingly the pre-conference seminar at the 2nd Smart Metering West Coast will focus on this fast developing technology.

HANs are set to become the basis of the smart home of the future, and in addition to the wide range of home control applications, they will open the way for new and smart home energy management options.

The pre-conference seminar will bring together experts in the field to discuss issues such as standards and practices in HANs, which are key to enabling information exchange between the utility and consumer networks. While energy management is only one of the drivers of HANs – and others, such as entertainment applications are likely to be more significant – it is important for the utility industry to work with other HAN stakeholders and make its requirements known, writes Erich Gunther, chairman of EnerNex Corporation, in the latest issue of Smart Energy International. “Then there is a high probability that the HAN will evolve in a way conducive to managing energy use in a much more intelligent, creative and efficient manner than we do today.”

Smart Energy International’s 2nd Smart Metering West Coast conference will take place in Los Angeles, CA, from August 20-22, 2007.      

Program highlights include a site visit organized by the host utility, Southern California Edison, which will demonstrate new AMI technology in action, and the opportunity to gain insights from users and vendors on the deployment of smart meter systems and the new technologies available on the market. There will also be a lot of networking opportunities to mix and do business together.

To be part of the West Coast utilities smart metering landscape sign up now as a delegate. Register on-line before June 15, 2007 and receive $100 discount.

For more information, contact Teresa Botha at, phone: 888 559 8017 (US) or +27 21 700 3500 (international), or visit

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