Network system advances meter infrastructure in New South Wales

07/06/2006


Echelon Corp. ’s Networked Energy Services (NES) System has been selected for an advanced metering project in the Australian market by Integral Energy , one of the largest utilities in New South Wales.

The project, which will initially serve 3,000 residential customers in Sydney with a possible option to extend to 7,000, marks an important step in the Australian marketplace where various governmental agencies at the state and national level are considering regulations mandating some level of advanced electricity metering infrastructure, Echelon says. The project is expected to bring approximately $300,000-$800,000 of revenue to Echelon, a networking company providing technology for controls, smart metering, and energy and environment management.

Demand for electricity in Integral Energy’s area is expected to grow 45% over the next decade, with customer base anticipated to increase by 29% in the same period. In response to these trends, Integral Energy seeks to apply advanced technologies to operations. The advanced metering system is said to provide utility customers with better service and the ability to reduce energy consumption in positive ways.

Karen Waldman, Integral Energy’s general manager regulatory and corporate affairs, says it’s the first large-scale advanced metering project in the Australian market. It transmits data about customers’ energy use and power quality two ways along existing power lines. “This technology provides significant benefits at a much lower cost than traditional means of remote meter reading, lowering the potential costs of a full roll out. The meters can assist customers to better manage their energy use by providing more information on their energy consumption and providing the technology to support more innovative prices. The meters also provide additional functionality designed to allow Integral Energy to improve its service to customers, such as remote reconnection and disconnection, increased information about the quality of the power supplied and real-time notification of outages.”

Echelon says the project is its first NES win outside of Europe. The system is said to provide an open, bidirectional, and extensible infrastructure that enables two-way automated meter reading; multi-tiered billing; time-of-use and real-time pricing; prepaid metering; remote electrical disconnect and reconnect; distribution system asset optimization; electricity outage detection and restoration management; blackout and brownout elimination; comprehensive revenue protection; real-time direct load control; power quality measurement; and extensive tamper detection features.

Sydney-based Integral Energy is the second largest state-owned energy corporation (SOC) in New South Wales, Australia, serving 822,000 customers (2.1 million people) in a region forming the third largest economy in Australia. Echelon is based in San Jose, California, with international offices in China, France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, and the U.K.

--Edited by Mark T. Hoske , Control Engineering editor in chief





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