Long-Term Partnership with Latest Technology
Landis+Gyr has a long-term partnership with EDF/ERDF spanning several decades, providing products and services covering all aspects of electricity metering. And now in line with ERDF’s plans to modernize their grid, we are helping them create maximum value from the latest Smart Metering technology.
Our company has a long successful history of working with EDF, and now in the new configuration with their distribution arm ERDF, as one of their preferred suppliers, providing them with residential and commercial meters, and associated services. We have historically had a close cooperation with their engineers, as well as marketing and sales teams in order to understand their needs and provid them with the latest t chnology that fits their specifications and meets expectations. Christian Huguet, CEO of Landis+Gyr France, says: “We have always been there for EDF. It has been a very long and satisfying partnership, a real cooperative business relationship.”
With this new initiative by ERDF to modernize their entire metering park, this cooperative partnership will be leveraged to an entirely new level. Our joint, shared expertise allows for making full use of the synergies that have developed over the years. This is key, as ERDF’s desire is to not only upgrade every one of their meter points and entire network but, conceptually, to change their meters into communication devices. The result is an improved model for energy consumers opening the way for a wide range of new services. As well as remote meter reading and billing, the AMM system will be able to deliver a myriad of additional benefits.
All of the expected functions of the AMM system point towards the implementation of a true Smart Grid, where the network can be monitored, outages detected and even future infrastructure development can be planned. Part of this will include the automation of houses with the “smart home” capability. With devices that link to water heaters and pumps, load shedding and restoration will become a reality. It will mean that consumers will be able to monitor their energy consumption, and choose a more appropriate tariff, which will make them active participants in finding solutions to the energy efficiency challenges of the world today. All these benefits will come about because of ERDF using a trusted partner and using the latest technology. That is, Landis+Gyr has proven they can manage the challenges associated with such a program in terms of providing state of- the-art meters and a scalable communications platform. Christian Huguet adds: “Our products and solutions set benchmarks regarding reliability and life span. We have unparalleled experience in mass deployments and one of the largest teams of engineers in the industry working to meet all our utility partners’ expectations and requirements.” And it was within this context that ERDF decided to proceed with a 300,000-meter pilot project, to totally confirm that their trusted partners can deliver the proven technology they are looking for, and to simulate a general rollout.
The pilot installation will include 300,000 meters and 7,000 concentrators. Landis+Gyr will supply one third of the meters and half of the concentrators. The pilot phase will be deployed into the two regions of Tours, a rural area, and Lyon, an urban area. By using these two diverse areas, the widest possible variety of installation requirements will be tested. Not only the physical installation of the meters and all the associated logistics will be evaluated (e.g. production, warehousing, distribution, installation), but all the data collection and collating within the central system.
The installation will begin on March 1, 2010, and will be finished seven months later. It will thoroughly put the entire operation through its paces. This is an extremely important part of the project. During the pilot phase, 3,000 meters and 70 concentrators will be installed per day.
The successful completion of the pilot program will, however, not be the end but only the beginning. Once ERDF and all their partners are thoroughly satisfied and the system meets the expected performance levels, the real work begins – that of installing 35 million smart meters. This will take more than five years to complete. This will bring the power and benefits of the Smart Grid to France, and make ERDF a shining example of what Smart Metering can do. And Landis+Gyr is proud to be part of, and support, such a project.
What will ERDF’s AMM system be able to do?
When customers report a blackout, customer service will be able to tell if the meter is working or not, indicating whether it is a network fault or in the customer’s building. Meters will also be smart enough to inform the central system if they have an outage, in near real time. Other services and functions are planned that will clear the way for a Smart Grid capability to take hold. The network will have load shedding and restoring functions. It will also be able to analyze load curves on the meters in the low-voltage nodes. With this information, appropriate investment and development of the network will be possible as the sectors requiring this will be highlighted. This will go a long way to making this process more accurate and cost-effective by removing the “art” of doing this work via the use assumptions. Quality of power supply is also an issue. With the AMM system voltage drops or increases outside the accepted margins will also be detected. The service capability will also greatly benefit from the capability to monitor the substations, with local events and even temperature of the substations surveyed remotely. Pretty smart indeed.
The Largest Smart Metering Project in the World on the Starting Blocks
EDF and its subsidiary, ERDF, are committed to following the Smart Grid path. Yet before converting all 35 million meter points to smart meters, ERDF is contacting a Smart Metering pilot of 300,000 meter points in Lyon and around Tours.
ERDF’s vision of the Smart Grid is built on new information technologies and communication capabilities to maintain the power system’s reliability despite increasing constraints. It will be integrated with the environment and help reduce CO2 emissions. It will optimize asset management thus preventing faults rather than fixing them. The areas already identified include distribution network management, optimization of assets’ lifetime, distributed generation, an overall improvement in performance, and Smart Metering. Jean
Vigneron, Director of ERDF’s metering division, says: “At ERDF we recognized Smart Metering’s key role as enabling the technology changes and breakthroughs to improve network operation, control and maintenance.”
ERDF is committed to rolling out AMM to all of its 35 million customers throughout France, making this the world’s biggest Smart Metering project. Planning a EUR 4 billion investment, everybody understands that nobody wants to buy untested technology and systems. “We therefore decided to first step into an experimentation phase. What we learn from the pilot project will help us when discussing and deciding on the large-scale project,” describes Vigneron. For most utilities, 300,000 meter points is a large-scale installation. EDF and its subsidiary, ERDF, are committed to following the Smart Grid path. Yet before converting all 35 million meter points to smart meters, ERDF is contacting a Smart Metering pilot of 300,000 meter points in Lyon and around Tours. The Largest Smart Metering Project in the World on the Starting Blocks Jean Vigneron, Director of the ERDF metering division For ERDF it also is, as well as an experimentation phase. Nevertheless, expectations are high. “We want to learn for the mass rollout.”
Through the pilot installation, ERDF wants to check and challenge the robustness of the AMM PLC, to identify weaknesses to remove any software faults. The test of the deployment process and features of the deployment information system are key when thinking about a 35 million meter replacement project. This is because installation is about 50% of the full investment. ERDF expects that the meter replacement will occupy 5,000 workers over five years. The financial impact of shortening installation time is huge. So far ERDF has never had such an operational challenge. The utility therefore wants to confront businesses and organizations at the operational reality, to ensure social acceptability of the AMM project. Ultimately the pilot shall provide the necessary information and clarity for ERDF to decide on a national rollout. Jean Vigneron underlines that the learning and feedback will impact the AMM project decisions. “We are expecting the green light for the national rollout, taking into account the views of all external stakeholders. I am confident that what we learn will fulfill our expectations, and confirm our intentions about the entire metering infrastructure. And, last but not least, we will identify where we need to improve to get ready to make the mass rollout a success for us and all our stakeholders.”