T&D World Magazine

Major Utility in Victoria, Australia to Trial Echelon’s Advanced Metering System

Australian electricity distributor CitiPower has selected Echelon’s Networked Energy Services (NES) advanced metering system as part of the first phase of a government-mandated migration to advanced metering systems. The government in Victoria, Australia, has initiated a program to deliver advanced metering infrastructure and “smart meters” to all Victorian electricity consumers beginning in 2008. Under the program, some 2.4 million new electricity meters are expected to be deployed over a four-year period to help consumers in Victoria better manage their energy use by providing more detailed information about their consumption and the opportunities available to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The government in Victoria and electricity distributors such as CitiPower are taking the first steps today toward defining the advanced metering infrastructure that will power Victoria through the 21st century,” said Ken Oshman, chairman and CEO of Echelon Corporation. “While the scope of this 500 meter trial is small, we believe it provides Echelon a critical advantage in establishing our presence at this market inflection point. With a revenue-certified advanced meter already available for the Australian market, the opportunity to work with one of the leading utilities in the state, and the demonstrated success of large-scale deployments of the NES system elsewhere, we believe this trial can be a springboard for Echelon as Victoria moves from trials in 2007 to tenders and volume deployments in 2008 and beyond.”

The Victorian advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project was established in March 2006 in response to a detailed study undertaken in 2005 to examine the costs and benefits that an advanced interval metering system could bring to Victorian consumers. The independently conducted, government-sponsored report found that such a system would bring significant benefits — so much so that it recommended an accelerated rollout of interval metering with advanced communications across Victoria.

“The Australian market is rapidly moving to advanced metering systems to enable our customers to conserve energy and improve the environment while at the same time lowering our operating costs,” said Shane Breheny, CitiPower’s CEO. “As we embark on this ambitious change, we are pleased to be working with Echelon and their field-proven NES system. We believe it has the potential to meet the new government requirements while delivering greater benefits to our customers and to ensure reliability and operational flexibility.”

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