ERDF, a subsidiary of Electricité de France (EDF) and the largest electricity distribution network in the European Union, has launched a major transformation programme that will see the replacement of 5 million electricity meters in France.

ERDF has selected Atos Origin, an international information technology company, as architect for the information system and lead manager of the consortium of technology firms that will conduct the pilot phase. The pilot will involve the deployment of 300,000 meters and 7,000 concentrators in the regions of Tours and Lyon in early 2010.

So far two suppliers have been contracted for the pilot, Itron subsidiary Actaris and Landis+Gyr, each of which will supply 100,000 smart meters and 3,500 concentrators.

The pilot installation will determine the shape of the second phase, expected to be the world’s largest smart metering project covering the deployment of 35 million meters and 700,000 concentrators.

ERDF has selected the Power Line Carrier (PLC) protocol for the project, which will enable metering hardware interoperability and sourcing of equipment from different vendors. Atos Origin research teams have created a PLC Certification Laboratory, the only resource of its kind in the market, which will test the compatibility of all new equipment.

Atos Origin has more than 30 years experience working with the world’s leading energy companies, and likens the AMM specification call to deliver data transmission and processing performance equivalent to that of a nuclear power plant control room.

www.atosorigin.com