Poland’s Energa-Operator, one of the largest distributors of electricity in Poland, has completed the first stage of its smart meter rollout.
The distributor, with approximately 2.8 million customers, has installed new smart meters at 106,000 households. In addition to this, 1,558 substations have been upgraded and 1,558 telecommunication connections have been installed. New data transmission technologies (PLC LV and 3GPP/CDMA) have been established, and an IT system has been built up from scratch to handle and manage the data collected by the meters.
The implementation covers Drawsko Pomorskie, Władysławowo, and Kalisz.
The meters and data concentrators were manufactured by ADD GRUP and delivered to Energa-Operator by Arcus and T-Matic consortium. Energy measurement is possible on 15-minute intervals and a 99% efficiency rate has been recorded for the transfer of meter billing data – exceeding the anticipated 95% efficiency.
Customers are already benefitting
“We believe that the first stage of implementation of smart metering is successful,” commented Rafał Czyzewski, CEO of Energa-Operator. “We adopted the optimal model in which our company is an integrator of the entire solution. We divided the system into three independent layers – the central system, telecommunications and meters. This guarantees us flexibility and independence from vendors or specific technologies.”
Energa-Operator and its customers are already benefitting from the new system. New tools that have been launched for customers include a web portal and mobile app to enable them to check daily electricity consumption. The system also allows for settlement of accounts on any day of the month chosen by the customer – a functionality currently available in Kalisz and to be gradually rolled out in the other areas where the system is being implemented.
Poland’s smart meter plans
Every Polish household is scheduled to have a smart meter by 2020. This forms part of the European Union's plan to reduce energy consumption. Smart meters will be facilitating the transition to a distributed energy model which relies mostly on renewable sources.
Currently, consumers’ power bills are based on estimated consumption which is corrected every few months to match the actual use. But, now consumers can look forward to accurate bills from the outset as smart meters will monitor energy consumption in real time.
Leading Polish utilities, such as Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), Tauron or Energa are currently working to carry out the operation to replace standard meters with smart ones. While some have had their doubts about smart meters’ financial viability, the Energy Regulatory Office is quick to counter any negative views.
Marek Woszczyk, the head of the Energy Regulatory Office, says that smart meters are fundamental for development of distributed energy generation system of small, local sources. "This is of great importance especially today, where corporate-led investment in energy production is facing significant investment problems.”
Thanks to the use of smart meters, some EU states have improved their energy efficiency by six to 10%.