In the UK, multinational utility firm Centrica said its smart meter base reached four million units in June.In a press statement, Centrica said its four million smart meters installed in UK homes over the past eight years are helping consumers improve their energy efficiency through the ability to track their energy usage in real-time.
Although the UK has extended its national smart meter rollout deadline to 2025, Centrica says it aims to equip all its customers with smart meters by 2020.
The utility provides gas and electricity services to residential and business consumers through its subsidiaries Scottish Gas in Scotland, British Gas in England and Wales and Bord Gais Energy in Ireland.
In total, Centrica serves 18 million residential customers worldwide of which 800,000 are UK business consumers.
By equipping consumers with smart meters, the utility aims to optimise its revenue collection through accuracy in energy billing.
The smart meters will help the energy provider improve management of electricity and gas distribution networks through access to real-time insights on the performance of grid assets. For instance, in the event of an outage, subsidiaries of Centrica will be able to receive notifications.
The utility claims the rollout of smart meters will set a foundation for the deployment and implementation of innovative grid solutions and business models under a number of smart grid programmes.
For instance, in Cornwall, Centrica is deploying a GBP19m Local Energy Market programme which includes the integration of distributed energy generation, energy storage and smart grid technologies to improve the utility’s energy mix.
The trial is being deployed to some 150 Cornwall residential homes.
The smart grid projects fall under efforts by the company to improve customer services by providing them with affordable energy.
Centrica and digital transformation
Meanwhile, Centrica has entered into a deal with Microsoft to use the IT company's managed services to securely store and manage operational data.
According to Cloud Pro, Centrica will move majority of its data centres to Microsoft's cloud-based Azure NextGen data centre.
The utility will also deploy Microsoft's Office 365 to enable its employees worldwide to access the company's central data storage hub. Office 365 is expected to help boost collaboration amongst the company's employees.
In addition, Centrica will use Microsoft's Dynamics 365 software to improve communication between its subsidiaries and field crews.
Commenting on the development, Mike Young, global CIO at Centrica, said: “Microsoft is a partnership that goes beyond technology. Microsoft is investing time supporting us to realise our digital transformation ambitions, offering advice and guidance when we need it."
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