By now, one would think smart meter deployment would be largely routine and their benefits well understood, writes Jonathan Spencer Jones, content analyst at Engerati.Yes – and no, Landis+Gyr’s Dave Connaker told Engerati in an interview. For Connaker smart meters are foundational to the smart grid, having evolved from a means to improve meter reading and billing. [Smart meters – foundation of the smart energy future] One of their most important applications is in the improved management and restoration of outages, he believes. And building on one of their original intents of providing energy consumption information to customers, other engagement opportunities are opening up, especially with the millennials.
Smart meters for strategic planning
In another article we investigate the role of smart meters in the business strategies of energy suppliers. [Approaching smart retail more smartly] In the new smart energy word the supplier will need to be proactive, customer centric and a true energy expert, who engages the customer in new ways with a wider variety of products. There are three ways in which suppliers can serve their customers in this world, says Baringa Partners’ George Lloyd – communication, new pricing models and providing the data to save on their bill.
What do the rolling wheels on suitcases, which have made life so much easier for travellers, have to do with the energy sector? According to customer expert Bill LeBlanc, they are an example of customer-centred design and thus the sort of example that utilities should follow, i.e. to develop products and services that address customer needs and not solely those of the energy company or regulator. The start to this is market research and LeBlanc suggests alternatives to the traditional online surveys. As an example E.ON has used First Fuel’s customer intelligence platform to develop an Energy Toolkit aimed at helping small businesses improve their energy efficiency. [Energy retail services: are you thinking about the human element?]
TSO and DSO forge closer ties
In Europe’s evolving power system with the growing penetration of decentralized renewables, much closer cooperation will be required between the transmission and distribution system operators. To support cooperation on power flows the evolvDSO project has developed two tools – one on interval constrained power flow, the other on sequential optimal power flow. [Tools for TSO-DSO cooperation] The aim is the necessary sharing of information regarding the operating conditions of the transmission and distribution systems. It also includes DSO support for TSO operational and planning tasks, such as controlling the active and reactive power ratio in the primary substation.