Deal watch: Ericsson’s AMI win in Norway, Elster close to US$240m order

Ericsson is sole supplier of an AMI system to Norway’s energy supplier Skagerak Nett, while Elster is closer to securing a 1.14 million unit contract in Memphis, Tennessee

In Northern Europe, Ericsson has bagged a contract as sole supplier of a smart metering solution to one of Norway’s largest energy companies.

Skagerak Nett, a wholly owned subsidiary of Skagerak Energi, has signed a deal with Ericsson for the deployment 180,000 smart meters with installation in customer homes starting from next year.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson will supply and integrate an advanced metering infrastructure solution into Skagerak Nett’s existing IT infrastructure.

The telecoms giant will also give support and maintain the new system during the rollout period up to 2019.

Ericsson’s position in smart meters market

The deal comes as Ericsson expands its footprint in the Northern European smart metering market with the company claiming to enable more than 42 million smart meters with its platforms, including in Sweden, Finland and Estonia.

In April 2015, Ericsson teamed with German telecom company Telefónica Germany and the E.ON Research Center to demonstrate the potential of LTE for smart meter connectivity.

The trials carried out in Germany at RWTH Aachen University aim to show that LTE prioritization, a standard feature of LTE, allows utilities to use public networks for communicating with smart meters as an alternative to existing powerline or fixed network connections.

The trials were conducted using an Ericsson LTE base station set up at the E.ON Research Center and connected to the Ericsson Core Network facilities at Ericsson Eurolab in Aachen.

The RTDS power network simulator of the E.ON Research Center was used to generate the stream of messages according to the specifications of the smart meter use case provided by Telefónica.

Smart water, gas and electricity meters

Meanwhile in the US, North-Carolina based Elster is close to securing a US$240 million deal with Memphis Light Gas & Water to supply more than 1 million meters.

The board of commissioners of the Tennessee municipal utility voted 3-0 this week to approve Elster providing 1.14 million smart meters over the next five years for the utility’s 421,000-plus customer base.

The deal is equivalent to installing approximately 50,000 meters each quarter for the next five years until 2020.

The decision to agree the rollout will now go to the Memphis City Council’s committee for Memphis Light Gas & Water Committee before requiring a full vote by the Memphis City Council.

In 2012, the utility ran a three-year pilot program with about 1,000 electric smart meters.

When the pilot proved successful, Memphis Light Gas & Water then bought 60,000 meters and systems from Elster for US$14.1 million in 2013 that are now installed outside the homes of 24,000 customers.

About 3.6% of 24,000 customers opted out of the programme, the municipal utility confirmed.