CSIRO develops low cost web-based smart metering system


Dr Martin de Groot,
Project Leader, CSIRO
Hobart, Australia — (METERING.COM) — May 25, 2010 – Australia’s national science research agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has developed a new web-based smart metering system that enables householders, small businesses and electricity retailers to remotely control energy use over a broadband internet connection.

The aim of the system, which was developed by the CSIRO’s Tasmanian ICT Center in conjunction with demand side response aggregator Energy Response and Tasmania-based hardware designer Saturn South, is to offer a low cost, real time platform that is able to aggregate a large number of smaller users – something that until now has been logistically impossible and cost prohibitive.

The universal energy services (UES) platform, as it has been named, comprises a mini smart meter that is installed in a household or business electrical switchboard, a gateway for connecting the consumers, and a web-based remote energy management system, from where the meter can be managed remotely.

“By taking advantage of common broadband internet connections we are able to build and deploy a very cheap, real time platform to deliver energy services to individual dwellings,” said CSIRO project leader, Dr Martin de Groot. “Householders can even receive alerts on their mobile phones notifying of any significant changes in energy use in the home.”

For Tasmania, where the technology was developed, the CSIRO has estimated that the state’s annual electricity expenditure could be cut by Au$10.9 million (US$9 million), even if less than 10 percent of Tasmanian customers used the system. If just 10 percent of Tasmanian households or small businesses were to take up the technology, the annual savings for those who do is estimated at up to Au$200 (US$165) for householders and Au$1,300 (US$1,070) for small businesses.

The infrastructure is cheap – the target deployment cost was set around Au$200 (US$165) per house – can be retrofitted to existing buildings and complements other technologies such as local generators and intelligent home automation systems.

CSIRO developed the remote control system software and Saturn South designed and built the mini smart meters to CSIRO specifications.