Abu Dhabi, UAE --- (METERING.COM) --- March 16, 2010 - Smart meters are soon to be fitted in select homes in Abu Dhabi in a pilot project to test the technology in saving energy and thereby driving down demand and system peaks.

In its newly released annual work plan for 2010, the Regulation & Supervision Bureau says that over the past few years, both the Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC) and Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) have been installing electronic meters, initially for automatic meter reading (AMR) purposes. However, the potential uses of these meters exceed AMR and they could form the basis for a range of smarter solutions in terms of tariffs and power purchasing options.

With this in mind the Bureau says that over the coming year it intends to sponsor two trials with the distribution companies. One of these is an energy purchasing trial, in which a sample number of volunteer customers, mainly living in large premises, will be provided with electronic displays to enable them to utilize time-of-day pricing.

The second is a prepayment trial in apartment blocks. The energy costs associated with flat occupancy tends to be fairly constant, given most air conditioning is central and paid by landlords, but the “cost to serve” such customers by a distribution company are high compared with the customers’ incomes. The trial will last for at least a year and is aimed at assessing the installation of prepaid meters as a norm in high-rise buildings.

Commenting on the trials, which will involve up to 500 volunteers, Bureau director general Nick Carter said that the move to smart metering will benefit Abu Dhabi because it will dramatically reduce the need to use old generation plants to boost supply during peak times.

“Another benefit is that with the reduction of demand will come a reduction in carbon footprint,” he added.

In the UAE there are typical peak loads during the summer when air conditioning use is high, but there are also variations which need to be managed throughout the day.

In the work plan the Bureau also notes that it will produce a consultation document on smart grids during the year, and that it intends to fast track dynamic response and peak reduction management in the demand side management program.