Metering developments in Latin America


Cyro Boccuzzi,
Energy Consultant
Sao Paulo, Brazil — (METERING.COM) — September 20, 2007 – “There have been many changes over the past few years and now there is a new way of doing things,” said energy consultant Cyro Boccuzzi, formerly technical services director at AES Eletropaulo, introducing the opening panel discussion at the 5th Metering, Billing/CRM Latin America.

Commenting on recent developments in the Latin American region Boccuzzi said that three issues in particular needed to be considered: The challenges of “modernity” in utilities, such as how should utilities modernize and should this process be accelerated; integration within utilities and what it brings for their activities, for example in areas such as  cost and loss reductions, and how can customers be included; and metering for the efficient use of energy, which is now becoming an issue of concern.

Responding from the Brazilian perspective panellists commented on the key roles for both the country’s regulator, Aneel (Agéncia Nacional de Energia Elétrica), and the standards body, Inmetro.

“Aneel and Inmetro should be catalyzers for the industry,” said Luiz Arruda, assistant to the director of CEMIG, adding that there is a need for “flexibility” in order to encourage utilities to invest in technology and thereby become more efficient.

Other panellists commented on the role of electronic meters and the need to replace the older electromechanical meters.

“Electronic meters would give us closer control of the energy,” said Jose Henrique Bertoni, technical services director at AES Eletropaulo.

“But,” noted Boccuzzi, “meters are still high cost items and we need cheaper meters.”

Metering, Billing/CRM Latin America 2007 opened yesterday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with more than 550 delegates registered so far. Other discussions focussed on regulatory issues for metering, billing and CRM and meter tests and standards, reviewing among other topics the externalisation of metering systems and the rights and obligations of free market consumers.

Jorge Venancio, master engineer at Comgas, presented some comments on the standardization of remote metering systems for water and gas in apartment blocks in Brazil.

Pointing out that over the past few years there had been a growing demand for individualized metering of water in particular by water utilities, and that there is also now the possibility of individualized metering of gas, Venancio said the need for a standard was due mainly to the fact that modern metering systems are increasingly complex, with multiple components.

Metering Latin America continues today with sessions on metering for the future, remote metering trends, strategies and technologies for advanced metering, AMR and AMI, and billing and customer relationship management.