Wireless submetering and utilities - what are the benefits?

Meazon shares with Engerati how its small wireless submetering solution can help utilities offer energy services.

Spanish utility Endesa launched a new energy management service to its domestic customers late last year.

The Internet of Things platform called Nexo allows the homeowner to monitor and control household appliances through a central hub.

This type of energy service is attractive to many energy companies and retailers as the need to diversify revenue models away from electrons ramps up.

And the enabling technology? A small, wireless submeter that uses the homeowner’s broadband network to communicate consumption in real time through a smart meter gateway.

Energy monitoring and control sensor company Meazon confirmed that Endesa used its DinRail and Plug energy meters within the Nexo platform alongside a gateway from Meazon’s partner company Indra, which was the project’s system integrator.

John Gionas, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Our submeters can assist with vertical applications when utilities want to offer value-added services. Our home gateway can act as an aggregation point for Zigbee-type devices that energy companies provide to customers in another way to strengthen offering and brand name.”

Gionas continues: “In the example of Endesa, our Internet of Things-based solution means that data can pass in real-time through a private network, which is not overloaded by smart meter data.”

Wireless submetering and utility services

Meazon’s energy monitoring and management solution - Bizy Energy Cyber System - consists of small, wireless, IoT meters that communicate energy consumption to a gateway. The data is then uploaded to the cloud and run through the company’s or a third party’s analytics software to create reports.

Gionas confirms that utilities are also showing an interest in the technology for demand response programmes. “We can connect meters with systems that someone wants to take on and off the grid.

"It is also very applicable to microgrids to help monitor and profile the energy consumption needs of users and calculate the energy storage and energy production needs of a microgrid community.”

Meazon, based in Greece but with an office in the US, has also had interest from utilities and energy retailers that are interested in submeters as a way to reduce churn with business customers by supplying detailed personalised reports on energy consumption.

Energy submetering and energy services companies

The company also serves the commercial and industrial segment by working with energy services companies (ESCOs) to deliver on energy efficiency projects through the use of panel submeters.

Gionas comments that three obstacles have hampered energy measurement in this sector. First the large size of energy submeters because if you are monitoring a few loads in a panel, you will not have the space.

Second, the cost and time of installing a wired power line. And last, closed systems have created ‘customer lock in’ and increased the total cost of ownership.

He believes Meazon’s solution is ideal for customers that are multi-branch or multi-building organisations wanting to monitor a building’s energy usage and be able to profile and aggregate consumption at a central level.

The technology he says is an “inflexion point” for the energy efficiency industry enabling more energy efficiency investments to be implemented due to the cost-efficient acquisition, installation and maintenance of the panel submeters.

Energy efficiency project - banking sector

One ESCO that is using Meazon’s panel submeters is Greece-based company ZEB. 

Project manager Marios Tsakiris told Engerati how the two companies have partnered on a large energy efficiency project in the Greek banking sector.

ZEB, which also works with retailers and public sector customers, is tasked with reducing the 70 million kWh consumption of the bank’s 400 branches and buildings by 10%.

Tsakiris said the ESCO has identified that conducting energy efficiency interventions into 50 large buildings and small branches will help them achieve this target.

“We will use 1,000 Meazon meters, half of which have been installed. Real-time measurement is the only way to find out how the building really works and see how our actions - such as changing the internal characteristics of building heat pumps - are being applied.

“The first thing that you should do if you want to reduce energy consumption is to install real time submetering on your premises. That is the only way you can address the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency.”

Energy efficiency - financing model

By using real-time consumption data, ZEB calculates the energy savings by comparing a ‘business as usual’ model with real readings.

The energy savings are then shared with the customer depending on the energy efficiency project financing model but investors can expect a 15% internal rate of return (IRR).

Meazon’s Gionas explains further that if a customer spends €100 a year on energy, by implementing specific energy interventions that cost €15 (15%), they could achieve savings of €10 (10%) per year.

Under this financing model, the building owner then shares savings with ESCO, which repays the investor as well as itself for the energy efficiency services.

Gionas says: “Customers enjoy savings from day one under this revenue-sharing model but the rest of the savings goes to the ESCO. At the end of the contract (typically five years), all savings go to the building owner.”

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