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Mixed reaction to U.K. smart meter proposals

[img:sedgwick203era_0.jpg|Duncan Sedgwick,
Chief Executive,
Energy Retail Association]London, United Kingdom --- (METERING.COM) --- May 24, 2007 –There has been a mixed reaction to the U.K. government’s proposals regarding smart meters in the Energy White Paper released earlier this week.

Gas and electricity watchdog energywatch said that by recognizing the need to introduce smart metering, the government has recognized some of the key drivers that it has argued are needed to put energy consumers front stage.

Innovative metering will advance the cause of microgeneration

Teridian Semiconductors

Teridian Semiconductor provides best in class mixed signal system-on-chip solutions for energy management, industrial automation, secure access and networking. These solutions play an integral role in industrial applications such as: Power metering; Measurement and control; Industrial sensor seasurement and industrial networking.

A Teridian Semiconductor oferece o melhor em  soluções System-On-Chip de sinal mixto de classe, para gerenciamento de energia, automação industrial, acesso seguro e networking. Estas soluções têm um papel integral nas aplicações industriais como: medição de energia, medida e controle, medição de sensor industrial e networking industrial.

Ten years of metering highlights – 2005


Managing restructuring wins accolades

ENEL At Utility CIO
Enel, Italy’s largest electricity utility, has commanded attention on various fronts over the last few years. There was the Telegestore project – the replacement of close to 30 million meters in homes and small businesses as part of Enel’s automated meter management programme – and the complete restructuring of the utility as Italy’s national electricity market transitioned from full regulation to full competition.

This last task was managed by Luigi Borrelli, IT officer at Enel and winner of the CIO of the Year Award for utilities with over a million customers. The two awards (the other is for CIOs at utilities with fewer than one million customers, which was won by Patrick Cooper of Country Energy in Australia) were the brainchild of Spintelligent, publishers of Smart Energy International, and Energy Central, the parent company of EnergyBiz magazine. Both men were selected by a panel of experts assembled by the two media companies.

Borelli began the restructuring exercise by establishing where the utility needed to be to meet the requirements of full competition, and identifying the technology gaps that had to be filled if the new business model was to be achieved. “One of the most important issues today is to streamline business processes to support ‘go-to-market’ strategies that will allow us to gain market share,” he says. “We believe we’ve identified the technology backbone and the right mix of buy/make solutions that will give us flexibility and the ability to support our business plan.”

Where there are technology gaps there are probably also skills gaps. Borrelli directed some members of his team to focus on analysing the key issues that major utilities in other restructuring markets had encountered. Others looked at market scenarios and conducted software product analysis, and a third group studied the potential impact of these new or modified solutions on Enel’s overall IT infrastructure. “The team did a magnificent job, and success would not have been possible without these major contributions from everyone,” Borrelli stresses. “We established a ‘knowledge innovation’ process that allows us to share all the information we have available throughout the team. This information isn’t only IT-related – it’s about the business and the markets too. This way the whole team is kept up to date, so as to be ready to understand the business needs and to quickly translate them into products or solutions.” Certainly the IT team’s achievements are impressive.

My, How Time Flies!

Those of us who have been around the metering and AMR/AMI (automatic meter reading/advanced metering infrastructure) industry for a number of years can relate to the phrase “My, how time flies,” right? Metering goes back hundreds of years. Many of the metering companies in America, as well as others around the world, have a history that goes back more than a century.

This article recognises Smart Energy International’s recent 10-year contributions to the metering and AMR world, as we take a look at the last decade and the developments we’ve seen in the North American utility markets. It’s safe to say that the 1990s can be regarded as the decade that birthed AMR, while the first decade of the 21st century will be seen as opening a new chapter into advanced metering technologies. Going back to the early 1980s, AMR started with the first testing by the then AT&T conglomerate, using telephonebased technology. Since then, AMR has evolved into a market dominated by radio-frequency (RF) based systems and powerline carrier technology. The telephone-based systems carried too much regulatory overhead and installation issues to maintain the AMR market. And even with today’s cellular-based telephone systems, RF, powerline, and the new kid on the block – broadband powerline communications – are now the favourites.

In 1996, the North America AMR market was dominated by mobile walkby/ drive-by AMR systems, capturing 87 percent1 of the total market, which was led by Itron. The remaining 13 percent1 of the market used fixed network AMR, which was led by Neptune meters, with a couple of telephone-based AMR systems for water. AMR market penetration was approximately 4.3 percent1 of the total North American meter market and was led by gas utilities. Ten years later, while mobile systems are still leading the market mix of AMR products, the trend is moving toward AMR fixed networks. Powerline carrier technologies, considered a fixed network, have been installed and are planned to be installed in large electric IOUs after their birth in the electric rural and co-op markets. This should give a boost to their market share. Meanwhile, RF technologies still dominate the total AMR product market with an 82 percent1 share, with the leading fixed network share from Cellnet.

Renewable energy sources and integration of generation processes

Conference: Metering, Billing, CRM/CIS Africa 2005
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Presenter: Hermann Oelsner
Abstract: In this paper Oelsner outlines the global efforts by utility providers to implement, fund and rollout alternative sources of energy. In particular Oelsner discusses crude oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power, solar, wind power, embedded generation, the economic benefits of renewable power, the strategic benefits and the efforts that currently make up the West Coast energy mix.

Fast forward AMR designs with advanced ICs

Today, the power industry faces ever-increasing customer
demand, straining systems across the globe. Even as the
industry takes further steps to ensure reliable service, providers can benefit from early-warning technology to prevent outages caused by excessive demand. In order for utility providers to better realise and test new technologies, the metering industry must turn to advanced integrated circuits (ICs) that are capable of making meters more accurate and reliable, and that incorporate automated meter reading (AMR).

Besides higher data accuracy and reliability, AMR-enabled energy meters offer lower customer service care cost and lower meter reading cost. E-meter manufacturers are rapidly upgrading their designs to implement new AMR technologies. By offering features such as data transmission over power line and remote communication via network, meter manufacturers can enable energy providers to detect, identify and resolve power outages remotely and expedite a solution.
Discerning customers will value receiving detailed individual information, increasing their trust in their bill’s credibility. Consumers can take advantage of cost incentives such as multi-rate billing or pre-pay energy with smart card prepayment. Adopting rate incentives can encourage customers to reduce peak usage, thereby leading to cleaner power distribution, fewer spikes in power generation and reduced need for more energy plants.

To meet the stringent requirements of advanced electronic energy meters, many manufacturers have relied on custom application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) that offered mixed-signal solutions. ASICs can be expensive, requiring non-reoccurring engineering cost and extending both design and production lead-times. A better option is to use standard catalogue products that solve similar problems for multiple customers at a lower shared cost. These ‘application-specific standard products’ (ASSP) are excellent choices, since they offer high performance analog and low cost digital circuitry and reduce manufacturers’ time-to-market.

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