São Paulo, Brazil — (METERING.COM) — October 26, 2011 – Smart Energy International’s Excellence Awards for Latin America for 2011 have been made to Brazilian utilities Ampla, Light and Águas Guariroba.

Ampla is the winner is the Smart Metering category, for its Ampla Chip technology, which was developed to reduce the high levels of theft this Rio de Janeiro utility was facing. The Ampla Chip is an advanced metering system comprising meters and concentrators that are installed on the LV distribution network, where they are inaccessible to tampering. To date Ampla has invested more R$768 million (US$432 million) and installed the technology for more than 540,000 customers, and the losses have come down by more than 5% to their lowest in the company’s history below 20%.

Light is the winner in the Smart Grid category, for its ongoing smart grid project. The three-year, R$35 million (US$20 million) R&D project is aimed at developing a comprehensive model smart grid, which will be piloted initially at around 1,000 homes in Rio de Janeiro. To date the project has developed a specifically designed smart meter and in-home display and web portal, customer surveys and benchmarking have been undertaken, and a good relationship established with the media, with the next step the rollout of the metering and other services.

Águas Guariroba is the winner in the Water Metering category, for its application of ultrasonic metering technology to the billing and collection of sanitation services for customers that have their own water supply and wouldn’t otherwise pay. The Campo Grande water utility sought to investigate this in the case of a single large customer, the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS), and since deploying the technology in early 2010 has gained additional income of almost R$2 million (US$1.1 million), with a one-month ROI on the technology.

The Awards were judged by a panel of regional industry experts, and presented by Jonathan Spencer Jones, editor of Smart Energy International América Latina, in the closing session of the first day of the Metering, Billing/CRM Latin America 2011 conference and exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil.