São Paulo, Brazil — (METERING.COM) — June 30, 2011 – CPFL Energia Holdings, the largest privately owned energy provider in Brazil, has contracted IBM to assist in developing a smart grid strategy that drives operational efficiency and optimizes the communication network to improve customer service and workforce management.
IBM is assisting CPFL by providing consulting and assessment services to implement three of its SmartGrid projects on automatic meter data collection, meter data management, and an optimized communications network.
These projects are part of an investment strategy confirmed in 2009 when CPFL Energia became a member of IBM’s Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition (GIUNC), which is furthering the adoption of smarter energy grids around the world.
“Investing in a smart grid is more than a trend, it is a market requirement, especially here in Brazil where power consumption and population are expected to increase over the coming years,” said Rubens Bruncek Ferreira, director at CPFL Energia.
During 2010 CPFL and IBM developed a strategic plan, using the GIUNC’s Smart Grid Maturity Model, which served as a blueprint for the SmartGrid projects, and was instrumental in CPFL’s current business restructuring.
As part of the first automatic meter data collection project, CPFL plans to install 25,000 intelligent meters by the end of 2012. Each meter will be connected online and will operate as a network sensor, helping the operations center to quickly identify potential faults and other events. The automated meters will also enable technicians to perform remote preventive service, reducing downtime and unnecessary field visits.
In order to support the incoming and outgoing data flow from the meters, the meter data management project will be implemented, with the chosen solution to manage both meter functionalities and data, and integrate with CPFL’s business operations, as well as offer the scalability to support CPFL’s planned rollout of 6.5 million residential smart meters. This project will allow CPFL to create a business model that incorporates end-to-end service management with real time monitoring of all devices across the entire network.
At the same time, the communication requirements for CPFL’s planned smart grid capabilities will be evaluated, and an architecture for a new communication network will be developed. This analysis will cover core corporate communications, including voice, e-mail, and video, as well as business applications support, such as workforce communication, SCADA, and advanced meter management. The objective is to develop a strategy and roadmap for an optimized communications network to better utilize CPFL assets and prepare for the migration from a traditional electric infrastructure to a smart grid.
As they are implemented, CPFL’s SmartGrid projects will improve reliability of the electricity network with faster identification of energy faults, and losses, greater speed and automation in connecting and disconnecting services, and faster detection of outages. Additionally, CPFL will enhance its customer service quality by leveraging tools that identify in real time the energy consumption and load profile of its customers. This will enable CPFL to better inform its customers while also ensuring high dependability with improved automation, management, and control of energy flow.