The EUREKA E! 3688 INTELLGAS project has developed a cost-effective and easy to-use approach to forecasting gas consumption up to 48 hours ahead to keep the wholesale price of gas purchases under control. The project developed a hardware and software system that measures and corrects gas consumption figures at user premises, transmits the data to the distribution centre and then uses it to predict consumption based on historic use data and temperature forecasts.
Deregulation of the energy market in Europe has led to much increased pressure on distribution companies to keep their costs under control. While existing and upgraded supervisory control and data-acquisition (SCADA) systems enable gas suppliers to ensure proper operation of their networks overall, reliable and correct data about when and how much gas is used is crucial to enable further analyses and accurate forecasting. In particular, gas distributors need to be able to forecast gas consumption up to 48 hours ahead and negotiate wholesale gas purchases accordingly – large penalties are applied if forecasts are more than 8% out.