In Western Australia, Horizon Power, a government-owned utility, has contracted Silver Spring Networks to deploy an advanced metering system in one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world.
Under the agreement, Horizon Power will connect its 47,000 customers spread across 2.3 million sq kms (888,000 sq m) to an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) program using Silver Spring's IPv6 network platform.
Horizon Power said in a statement that the rollout marks the distribution utility as the first in Australia to pursue a non-mandated AMI deployment and customer pre-payment program.
Cutting meter servicing costs
The program is a part of the AUD34 million (US$28 million) project funded by the government of Western Australia to reduce operating costs associated with customer services costs and the servicing of meters in remote locations.
Silver Spring was selected for the AMI program following the completion of a successful pre-payment program leveraging technology from Silver Spring partner SmartGridCIS to enable customers to pay for electricity in advance and better monitor their electricity use.
Frank Tudor, managing director at Horizon Power, said: “Silver Spring’s multi-application smart grid platform will help us deliver benefits to our customers and set up a platform for future benefits to allow customers to better manage their energy use.
“The technology should also allow us to reduce the cost of providing electricity to our customers by removing the need to manually read our meters as well as automating the reconnect and disconnect process when customers move, which now can take our crews a number of days given the vastness of our service area.”
Silver Spring has existing clients in Australia and New Zealand through partnerships with CitiPower and Powercor Australia, Jemena, United Energy and Western Power in Australia, and SmartCo, Metrix and WEL Networks in New Zealand.