T&D World Magazine

Arqiva to Employ Sensus Smart Grid Technologies for UK Utilities

Sensus and Arqiva, a UK-based communications infrastructure and services company, have formed a partnership that will enable Arqiva to implement a long range radio-based communications platform for the UK’s utility companies. Using the Sensus FlexNet and SmartPoint technologies for smart metering, telemetry, and control of the utility assets, Arqiva will deploy a communications platform as part of the UK’s rollout of smart meters to all homes and businesses.

The Sensus FlexNet smart grid communications system and SmartPoint technologies are being used by 200 electric, water, and gas utility customers in North America that collectively, have already deployed more than four million smart meters.

“With the government’s commitment to put smart meters in all homes by 2020, we have the opportunity to make the UK one of the most advanced and efficient consumers of energy in the world. For what will become a critical piece of national infrastructure, we must make sure that we set the bar high with the proposed central communications network. This means not only universal coverage but resilience, security, and availability, something that long-range radio has proven it can deliver through the UK’s broadcast network,” says John Cronin, managing director, Arqiva Wireless Access.

The solution being developed by Arqiva, which is based on long-range radio technology, will operate in available UHF spectrum and builds on the company’s experience in operating the UK’s terrestrial TV and radio broadcast network. The communications platform will offer multiple benefits, including:

  • Dedicated, secure network Arqiva will use its dedicated UHF spectrum, combined with Sensus’ purpose designed security measures, to provide a bespoke communications network for independent use by the UK’s water, gas and electric utilities.
  • Universal UK coverage with minimal infrastructure A long range radio network offers significant geographical coverage with minimum infrastructure; Arqiva already delivers terrestrial radio and TV services to 98.5% of the UK using a similar solution.
  • Simple and cost-effective smart meter roll-out – Long-range radio signals carry well through buildings, even underground, reaching meters situated in cupboards or cellars that would be out of range of other communications technologies, thus avoiding the cost of moving and reconnecting meters.
  • High capacity and scalable – Long-range radio has the necessary capacity to meet the smart energy initiatives for meters and grid networks as well as scalability for other utilities, such as gas and water.

The partnership allows Arqiva to focus on the development of the long-range radio-based solution for the single centralized national communications network as recommended by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in its smart metering consultation paper issued earlier this year. Arqiva will begin technology trials in December 2009.

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