Western Power names smart meter suppliers

Western Power names smart meter suppliers

Summary: Western Power has announced the partners which will be providing software and meters for its smart grid trial, with meters expected to be installed by June.

SHARE:

Western Power has announced the partners which will be providing software and meters for its smart grid trial, with meters expected to be installed by June.

Western Power smart grid project manager Andrew Wood told ZDNet.com.au that it had chosen suppliers for the four-year trial, aimed at remotely collecting and analysing customers' energy consumption patterns.

(Power trip image by mugley, CC2.0)

Silver Springs, an American smart grid services provider, will supply communications and network software, while Landis + Gyr will provide the meters, with contracts valued at a combined $5.33 million. Western Power's in-house IT team will complete the systems integration.

Landis + Gyr, an international provider of meters for smart grid projects, also recently signed a contract with CitiPower and Powercor to provide similar technologies to the Victorian smart meter roll-out — the biggest so far in Australia.

Field deployment across WA's eastern corridor, Denmark and Walpole areas, will be conducted by Western Power's metering services provider Service Stream for the sum of $880,000.

IBM, another contractor in Western Power's smart grid trial, won a $500,000 deal in December last year to design the network that connects the smart meters with Western Power's existing systems. According to Wood, the provisions of the contract with IBM have been completed, with IBM "fulfilling its role" in the project.

The trial will see around 11,500 meters installed between April and June this year. The meters will be connected to Western Power systems via its fibre network, with RF mesh communications being used for the last mile.

Over the next two years, data will be collected and analysed to justify the business case of rolling out meters to 1 million users, according to Wood.

Smart meters would allow Western Power access to real-time information on energy consumption and remove the need for manual meter readings. Customers would also be able to access this data, allowing them to track their own energy usage and peak periods.

This trial is only one of many of Western Power's efforts to move towards a smarter electricity network. In 2008, the utility company trialled turning off cooling capabilities in selected customers' air conditioners for up to half an hour in peak times to manage demand. It has also been installing new meters capable of recording data in short time intervals since 2005.

Western Power has previously stated that the understanding of peak energy usage would enable the company to develop effective management strategies and delay the need for extensive infrastructure upgrades.

"The substations, cables, power lines and other infrastructure that we build to support energy needs are not driven by normal consumption, but by the total peak. We build to cover the times of highest energy use, even if those times only amount to a few days a year," Western Power MD Doug Aberle said in a statement in 2008.

Topics: IBM, Emerging Tech, Government AU, Legal

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

2 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • will you think it Smart when they turn off your power ?

    I can't believe people are falling for this tripe.
    > you meters can be read wirelessly.

    Just cant wait until they start turning off your power when you wont or can't pay the bill because of their screwed up billing system.

    So how soon will the wireless meters be hacked ? I bet very damnone will have teh SAME PASSWORD for convenience.
    Ha it will be fun turning off the power as i drive past your house - try getting your Merc through the "electric" powered gates fat cat!

    > They can turn your power supply OFF and will when demand gets too high.

    Oh in Legistlation they have the "medical exemption", but like in America and WA where these things are fitted its the poor mums and dad's that suffer while the companies let people die in 38C+ heat because some industry like the aluminium and paper industry sucks the life from the power grid at rates that are BELOW wholesale

    How about they stop spending money on automation. Why ? Why automate ? hmmm so they can turn off and on your power as they see fit.
    These costs that WILL BE passed on to the consumer.
    Why not start supplying power to CONSUMERS at a fair and decent rate.

    Gooogle the power OUTAGES in the USA... oh no its the same companies in control there too !
    anonymous
  • What rubbish

    "Just cant wait until they start turning off your power when you wont or can't pay the bill because of their screwed up billing system."

    AGL have already done this in NSW. Their billing system ranks down at the bottom of the swamp with Onetel's and they blame their computers on everything instead of the idiots who programme them.

    "So how soon will the wireless meters be hacked ? I bet very damnone will have teh SAME PASSWORD for convenience.
    Ha it will be fun turning off the power as i drive past your house - try getting your Merc through the "electric" powered gates fat cat!"

    The commercial sector has been metered by remote access for at least ten years without these problems.

    "They can turn your power supply OFF and will when demand gets too high."

    This already happens at a network level and has always been an option for supply authorities. It won't get any better or worse because they'd have the ability to turn off one house at a time. Remember that it is in the commercial interests of supply authorities to keep you connected for as long as possible. They don't earn any revenue when you aren't consuming their product.

    "Gooogle the power OUTAGES in the USA... oh no its the same companies in control there too!"

    We all know everything in the US is crap. They drive on the wrong side of the road, their ability to win wars is almost non-existant despite having the most powerful military force in the world and most yanks eat like pigs - their obesity rate leaves Australia's for dead.

    Seriously though, leave the conspiracy theories to journalists. They are experts at it. I've never had air conditioning in my home and in most parts of Australia it is not necessary.
    anonymous