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Smart Meter System for TEPCO

Yamaguchi, Executive Vice President of TEPCO visited Toshiba Fuchu Complex

December 19, 2013- Tokyo (translated from Denki Shinbun newspaper) Development of smart meter (next-generation electricity meter) communication system for TEPCO, engaged by Toshiba and Landis+Gyr (Switzerland), its affiliated company, is progressing well.  In this "world's most advanced and largest project" (by Toshiba) to which 27 million units in the service area of TEPCO are subject, while utilizing the Landis+Gyr offices in the US and using the communication board of meters of 2,200 units or more, the system validation is being conducted.  Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Executive Vice President of TEPCO, visited Toshiba Fuchu Complex (Fuchu City, Tokyo) on Dec. 17.  "System development may be evaluated to be in smooth progress" said Yamaguchi, after checking the meter reading data.

(with Toshiba photography)

Development of the communication in progress

Upon introduction of smart meter, Toshiba conducted competitive bidding in three fields: (1) main body of meter, (2) communication system connecting each meter and electric company, and (3) meter data management system (MDMS).

A corporation group gathered mainly by Toshiba accepted the order for communication system this May.  Validation work will be performed at Toshiba Fuchu Complex and two Landis+Gyr offices in US toward the start of installation in April 2014.

Three types of communication unit are to be mounted in the smart meter: “wireless multi-hop,” “PLC (powerline communications)” and “mobile” according to the actual situation of each household, which was unprecedented.  Electric consumption data of 200 to 300 meters for wireless multi-hop system and of tens of meters for PLC system is collected to each concentrator (collecting device).  Mobile system exchanges data directly with base station using 3G network.

Finally, data is collected in “head end system,” a device that collects data and controls communication.  TEPCO is aiming to realize “thorough cost reduction” by adopting overall international standards to a series of systems and by utilizing know-how of Landis+Gyr who possesses technology and procurement ability based on the abundant results.

With high reliability

Toshiba Fuchu Complex has a vast site of 4 km around.  Toshiba, taking advantage of the broadness of the site, installed the circuit boards for smart meter communication part inside and outside of several buildings in order to collect data of electric consumption.

In order to confirm the maximum performance of the device, a simulation under the condition more loaded than expected actual operation, connecting 1,000 meters by multi-hop system and 100 meters by PLC system to one concentrator, is tested.  The similar environment is constructed in the Landis+Gyr validation facility in Minnesota, USA.  Head end system is installed in Landis+Gyr development center in Atlanta.  2,200 units in total are connected by network to send 30-minute meter reading data to the upper system.  Reading result on the display shows approximately 100% success, which demonstrates that the high reliability is established before the start of full-scale installation.

Possible acceleration of introduction

Regarding the introduction plan of smart meter in the future, Yamaguchi expressed that “even the target for completion is in seven years, until 2020, it can be accelerated, provided the customer needs are strong.”  The priority would be determined taking into consideration the construction capability, meter production ability and working situation of validation facility.

Toshiba Group will “thoroughly review confirmation items in advance and mobilize available resources in many fields in order to smoothen the practical business” (by Takeshi Yokota, Corporate Vice President of Toshiba) and Landis+Gyr will “develop the core technology platforms for the project, and together with Toshiba will meet the tough operating and deployment requirements TEPCO has established ” (by Heath Thompson, CTO of Landis+Gyr North America), for the final work looking ahead to the full implementation in April next year.

(with Toshiba photography)

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