How can smart metering help satisfying smart customer demands?


By Ralf Hoffmann

Nobody needs smart metering just for the sake of it. Or do you know somebody whose hobby it is to collect meter data? Does anybody paint his walls at home with load interval columns or store consumption data in his wallet? The answer is of course no.

If it is just about the smart meters, there is no sense to them at all. When talking about smart metering, we should be clear that it refers to a tool, and nothing more. Without an additional higher aim, an implementation should clearly not take place.

AMM system1

Meter Data Management system

Why am I so critical about smart metering? Because the current media frenzy and public discussion is starting to leave their original focus out of the debate. If there is an option to help the environment by saving primary energies, smart meters can surely be an endorser, though the grid management has to allow cut-offs of primary sources at the same time. If customers really want to change their supplier or supply contracts, smart meters can be the enabler for an online control on a cost effective basis. If market regulators want to separate the market roles from each other and keep control of working processes, AMI is certainly a tool to help market implementation.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to optimise all the aims with the same priority at the same time. Deregulating the metering market, such as that implemented in the new energy laws in Germany, has the potential to interfere with the grid management. When various individual private operators handle the meter park it will be very difficult for grid operators to have control over single consumption sites via the meter. Further distribution of energy generated by widely spread photovoltaic sources or biofuel cells make the grid management very complex. Consequently, no control on the meter park means simultaneously no control over the grid status information in the field.

Life in general has changed enormously over the last 10 years. The use of mobile phones, email and the internet has not only changed consumer behaviour, but also has actuated an increasing permeation of technology in society. We have lots of electronic appliances in our cars or at home and communication devices have become an essential part of our everyday life. Therefore consumers today are well prepared for electronic metering, but it will be necessary to integrate it into the normal course of their lives.

AMM system2

An AMM system

Several studies have shown very little interest in a dayto- day energy management. The expectation that consumers would observe their energy home display day and night in order to control the consumption of their home appliances is far from the reality. Smart grids and smart appliances have to run automatically, and visibility of the process management towards the user is not required. If smart metering wants to support future process chains, it has to become completely embedded into smart grid operations.

The GÖRLITZ system easily supports such an integration. Starting at the level of meter data information, the GÖRLITZ MDM system supports the handling of millions of interval data packets. With a meter data unification standard, it integrates the different AMI systems from different vendors into one process standard. Direct links to upper level enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems (such as SAP’s MDUS) or SCADA systems (via IEC870.104 standards) make the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) concept of GÖRLITZ a world-class application for meter data management solutions.

Recent success stories in Denmark, where large quantities of smart meters are now ordered for mass rollouts, and where utilities such as Energy Midt, SEAS or ELRO implement up to 500,000 residential meters each, GÖRLITZ is the selected system partner providing hardware, software and its unique expertise in smart metering solutions.