The UK smart meter implementation programme (SMIP) is well under way. Contracts will shortly be let for the data communications company (DCC) and supporting roles. But why is there such interest in progress in the UK? Neither the concepts nor the technology are new. But so far, the challenges to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which is running the program, have been greater than to any other government institution in the world, and the eventual solution is unlikely to be an orthodox one.
Smart Energy International consulted utilities in the USA, Europe, Africa and the Far East, to establish present practices in respect to meter testing and calibration. We are most grateful to Hein Erwin – head of measurements, Eskom Cape Western Division, South Africa, Barry Maindonald – metering and supply engineer, Jersey Electricity Co, Horia Maries – senior engineer, CONEL SC ELECTRICA SA, Romania, Takao Oki - technical co-operation manager, Japan Electric Meters Inspection Corporation (Jemic), Lauren Pananen – meter engineer, Pacificorp, and Ioan Stoica – manager, Oradea power distribution utility, Romania, for their input. This is a summary of their responses.
Salt River Project in Arizona is no stranger to smart meter technology, having been deploying smart metering for over a decade. In this interview Carrie Young, who leads SRP’s Revenue Cycle Services organization, talks about some of the company’s activities in this area, and its move towards a smart grid.
Please start by telling us something about yourself.
I lead the Salt River Project (SRP) Revenue Cycle Services organization, managing all aspects and operations of the revenue cycle from meter to bill. As a member of Customer Services executive staff, I set the strategic direction for smart meter infrastructure and co-chair SRP’s Smart Grid Leadership Committee. My knowledge and understanding of the utility business with a strong technology foundation has led to opportunities for process improvement, streamlined work processes and automation that increase operational efficiency.
Prior to joining SRP, I spent 20 years in the United States Air Force in systems analysis where I led several project teams.
Who are the key members of your team?
Russ Borchardt joined SRP in 2002 and is the manager of Customer Metering Services. He manages the company’s meter operations and engineering as well as the field deployment and operations of SRP’s smart metering technologies. Russ has over 28 years experience in the electric utility industry with 22 years in the area of metering. Prior to joining SRP, he managed the meter operations for a major Midwest utility and was a project director for the installation of a 1.4 million electric and gas AMR system.
Gary Fritcke joined SRP in 1996 and is senior planning analyst for Customer Metering Services. He is responsible for the development and implementation of business plans for M-Power, SRP’s prepay metering project, and for developing and evaluating business cases for various Revenue Cycle Service projects including AMI. Gary has over 30 years of project management experience – twelve in the electric utility industry. Prior to joining SRP, he was a marketing and sales manager for the Dial Corporation where he managed business operating groups with annual sales of over $100 million.
A new law will come into effect on 1 July 2009 in Sweden. The law, the first of its kind in the world, states that all electricity customers in Sweden must be billed for actual usage and that the usage is presented per calendar month. This will in effect render manual reading obsolete and makes it necessary to install a system that can read the electricity meters remotely once a month. In Göteborg there are 275,000 meters for customers below 63 A, which must be replaced.
In the case of Iberdrola, the Spanish Ministerial Order ITC/3860/2007 is a strong driver: it sets the obligation for all utilities to replace all their meters under 15 kW with new smart meters by 2018. This means the rollout of around 10 million units in the case of Iberdrola. In addition to economic and efficiency considerations, utilities will increasingly need to define their own strategies to fulfil the requirements for a new, cost-effective metering solution that will be part of the smart grids of the future. Iberdrola has been carefully developing its strategy for two years now. All of its residential customers are currently being manually read six times per year, and the installed base is made up mostly of electromechanical meters. An obvious paradigm shift will be to consider meters as digital communication devices (nodes) which are part of a network; as such, metering will be just one of a variety of functions these smart meters will have.
Maturing US AMR market drives industry consolidation
As AMR implementation achieves peak momentum in the US, the clock is ticking for many smaller AMR suppliers, and consolidation activity is increasing at an accelerating pace.
When assessing the status of the United States AMR market back in 2003, most industry analysts felt that a considerable upside existed for AMR technology, including the involvement of a growing number of emerging AMR vendors. Today, just three years later, it is apparent that this widely recognised window of opportunity is rapidly closing. As AMR has gained widespread acceptance among utilities in the US, the focus has shifted over the past few years from evaluation of new untested technologies to refining the business case and pursuing optimum levels of deployment and integration. As a result, many smaller AMR vendors are finding themselves being left behind.
There are a number of key drivers that have forced most utilities in the United States to at least initiate investigation into advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). For electric utilities across the US, the most far-reaching change established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) is the aggressive action required in the areas of advanced metering and demand response. But California has been subject to over 300 pieces of legislation that, if they haven’t already, will very quickly sway any remaining ambivalence.
Ecologic Analytics, a provider of meter data management systems for power and natural gas utilities, has announced that it has been chosen to provide the meter data management systems for Oncor’s advanced metering system project. The meter data management systems (MDMS) will manage advanced metering system (AMS) meter read data for more than three million electric meters in Oncor’s service territory, claims the company.
[img:Kevin_Atkinson_0.jpg|Kevin Atkinson, Chairman, Unison Networks]Hastings, New Zealand --- (METERING.COM) --- September 15, 2010 - New Zealand network company Unison Networks announced recently that it is to deploy a smart grid across its three regions Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Rotorua – three of the North Island’s most popular regional tourist destinations.