Power line communications protocol and certification laboratory for ERDF’s Linky smart meter project


Paris, France — (METERING.COM) — November 4, 2009 – ERDF, the European Union’s largest electricity distribution network operator, has published on its website the specifications of the power line communications (PLC) protocol for meter/concentrator communication developed and deployed by international IT services provider Atos Origin and consulting company Trialog, .

The protocol is the backbone of the PLC Laboratory, which will guarantee metering equipment interoperability and serve as the sole certification authority for devices from all equipment manufactures. IskraEmeco, Itron and Landis+Gyr helped develop the open PLC protocol and have already demonstrated their ability to ensure the interoperability of their equipment.

System interoperability is an integral part of ERDF’s strategy and a critical factor in the design of France’s future electricity metering network. To meet this challenge, Atos Origin and Trialog innovated by integrating power line communications (PLC) technology in the communications network that will support the 35 million new Linky smart meters scheduled to replace legacy electromechanical meters starting on March 8, 2010. This new telecommunications network is being rolled out without any investment in grid infrastructure.

Atos Origin and Trialog combined their skills in electromagnetics and signal processing, the implementation of communication information systems and business processes to design and deploy this new open protocol. The partners also leveraged their years of experience to overcome the technical roadblocks inherent in PLC technology, such as electric wave disturbance and signal weakening.

This project to replace ERDF’s 35 million electricity meters in France is the largest smart meter IT contract currently under way in the world. Atos Origin is handling the pilot phase and building the final information system.

“The publication of the Linky PLC specifications on ERDF’s website shows that our smart meter management system is fully open,” said Jean Vigneron, Linky program manager at ERDF. “ ents, we will ensure healthy competition.  This, in turn, will optimize costs and ensure that the equipment making up France’s future electricity distribution network is reliable,” noted.