Tunisian utility selects Huawei for smart meter rollout

The Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company selected Huawei and a local electrical equipment manufacturer for the development of an integrated smart metering solution.

In a press statement, Huawei confirmed that it signed an agreement with the Industrial Company of Electrical Apparatus and Equipment (SIAME) to develop and supply smart meters for the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company (STEG).

[quote] The integrated metering solution will also include meter data management software and technology to enable connectivity between the smart meters and the utility firm.

The developers of the integrated metering solution are confident that the technology would be adapted and help multiple utility firms in Africa and the Middle East to harvest the benefits of smart grid technology.

The deployment of the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) will be the first rollout of smart electric meters in Tunisia.

The development will ensure STEG optimises its revenue collection process through accurate billing as well as reduce electricity theft as a result of meter tampering.

It is expected that the utility’s customers will be able to use energy more efficiently with access to real-time data.. The smart meters will also pave way for STEG to develop and introduce new business models including demand response and energy efficiency programmes.

More importantly, the smart metering technology would help STEG to manage its grid network in real time and improve its customer services through a reduction in power outages.

Metering in Africa

In related news, a report published by North East Group last year, states that utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa will invest $8 billion in electricity metering through to 2026.

The report titled ‘Sub-Saharan Africa Electricity Metering: Market Forecast 2016-2026’ discusses the region’s current metering landscape, factors restraining the market as well as a forecast of the market.

Ben Gardner, president of North East Group commented: “Nearly one-third of the power produced in Africa is never properly billed to customers. This means utilities do not generate sufficient revenue to maintain their networks and fund necessary expansion.”

And as such: “Utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa must urgently upgrade their poor metering infrastructure.”

The report highlighted that despite Africa being the world’s fastest growing metering market and a leader in prepaid metering, the continent’s prepaid metering market penetration is just above 40%.

However, at a later stage, utilities mainly in selected countries including South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana will begin to increase the deployment of advanced metering infrastructure.

The commercial and industrial (C&I) metering market segment is also predicted to experience a significant increase over the next decade.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.

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