T&D World Magazine

Integral Energy to Implement Advanced Metering Infrastructure in Australia

Echelon'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 3000 residential customers in Sydney with a possible option to extend to 7000, 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. The project is expected to result in approximately US $300,000 to US $800,000 of revenue to Echelon.

Demand for electricity in Integral Energy's area is expected to grow by 45% over the next decade, with Integral Energy's customer base anticipated to increase by 29% in the same period. In response to these trends, Integral Energy is taking a leading role within Australia to find ways to apply advanced technologies to its operations. The NES System provides Integral Energy with an advanced metering solution that can allow it to offer customers better service and the ability to reduce energy consumption -- without a negative impact on the quality of services or consumer habits.

Karen Waldman, Integral Energy's general manager Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, said, "We are taking the initiative to get ahead of increasing energy demands in the Australian market by investing in advanced metering solutions like the NES System. This is the first large-scale project in Australia of this technology, which transmits data about customers' energy usage 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."

Waldman added, "The meters can assist customers to better manage their energy usage 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's NES system provides an open, bidirectional, and extensible infrastructure that enables a comprehensive range of utility applications for every aspect of a utility's operation, from metering, to customer services, to distribution operations, to value-added services. The system enables a comprehensive set of energy services, including: two-way automated meter reading; multitiered 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.

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