EnergyAustralia recognized for its smart grid developments


George Maltabarow,
Managing Director,
Sydney, Australia — (METERING.COM) — September 29, 2008 – EnergyAustralia has been awarded an Engineers Australia 2008 Engineering Excellence Award for Control Systems and Communication for its use of next generation telecommunications technology on its electricity network.

Over the past three years EnergyAustralia has developed and rolled out a utility specific, next generation telecommunications platform as part of a $40 million (US$33.2 million) program to make the network smarter.
“To build a smarter electricity network, we first needed to create a single, reliable telecommunications backbone,” says EnergyAustralia managing director George Maltabarow.

“We have rolled out 700 km of new fiber optic cables, installed hundreds of communications switches and deployed carrier grade Internet protocol (IP) technology to connect 200 key substations on our electricity network. By building this new backbone we have totally refreshed our telecommunications infrastructure to propel us into a new, smarter age in electricity distribution services.”

Maltabarow comments that EnergyAustralia’s approach is to run all the services over a single set of infrastructure, including substation monitoring, security cameras, voice, and office data traffic.

“We believe we’re the first electricity network in the world to do that.”

By the end of the year more than 200 major electricity substations and depots are expected to be connected to the new telecommunications platform, providing greater information about equipment, allowing better decision making and the earlier detection and repair of faults. It also provides greater access to information for field staff, who can now connect to substations and equipment using laptops and mobile phones. It also improves equipment monitoring and control and the protection of critical sites and data.

“A smart electricity network is now a reality for us. We have more to do but we have taken the significant step into the future,” says Maltabarow.

EnergyAustralia is one of the largest energy suppliers in Australia, providing electricity to more than three million people in Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter Region. Over the period 2007 to 2102 the company plans to invest $4.8 billion (US$4 billion) in upgrading and expanding its electricity network, including the installation of smart meters and provision of time-of-use pricing.