Utility Week

Utility Week 1st November 2013

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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Operations & Assets Smart meters which informs the network operator that they have gone off supply. The simulator also updates its internal database to reflect the de-energised state of the meter. By aggregating these messages and identifying patterns, the network operator can identify which customers are affected, and can start to diagnose the problem even before it sends an engineer to the site. Such simulations can help a network operator evaluate the effects of remedial action, to establish the best working practices before the meters themselves are actually deployed. An energy retailer could also use the simulator in a similar scenario to help plan its customer care strategy during a power outage. Outages and restorations have been the focus of our initial work with the simulator, but we are also keen to start harnessing its potential in other areas, to assess the benefits for all parties involved in the smart metering rollout. For example, if suppliers are allowed to collect meter data on a daily or even halfhourly basis, they should be able to provide real-time insight into consumption. But what would be the best way to let customers interact with this data? What effect will the introduction of new services such as interval billing have on existing IT systems? What new processes and safeguards would need to be put in place if we wanted to use the data to identify and support vulnerable customers? What new and valuable insights can be gained from all the technical meter data that suppliers will now receive? By generating realistic simulated data on a large scale and feeding it into participants' test systems, we can help them get a much more accurate idea of the future requirements and technical impact of this new technology. This will enable them to prepare effectively and hit the ground running as soon as their smart meter rollout is complete. Even after the rollout, a simulator could continue to help with impact assessments for the development of new products and meter technologies as new generations of meters become available. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a smart metering business scenario where simulation would not be useful. At the moment, we are still working with our clients to identify additional use cases, and the list is growing rapidly. We may not even have begun to explore its full potential yet, but over the next six to 12 months, we expect meter data simulation to become a hot topic in the industry. Mark Thompson, business development, at AMT-Sybex 2,250 "Completing the national rollout will be an enormous logistical and technical challenge for the industry" The estimated number of permutations of smart meters the industry will have to deal with by 2020, up from 229 today, according to British Gas head of asset management Alan Doody £600m Value of the contract British Gas awarded to Landis+Gyr this September, to roll out 16 million smart meters to its customers 12 Number of months the smart meter rollout has been delayed, to autumn 2015 Energy secretary Ed Davey, May 2013 "We need collectively to take a deep breath, consider carefully again what we ultimately want from a universal smart meter regime, and only then actually 'make it so'" Alan Whitehead MP, October 2013 "The last thing we need is more dither and delay" 50 million The number of smart meters to be installed by the target date of 2020 £11.7bn Estimated cost of the smart meter rollout £2.4bn Then energy minister Charles Hendry on Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of smart meters, January 2012 biomass generator Drax Value of the four contracts awarded by the government to smart meter infrastructure providers this summer UTILITY WEEK | 1st - 7th November 2013 | 25

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