By Pasi Rantanen

The Nordic electricity wholesale market is one of the most advanced international electricity markets in the world. It has acted as a front runner for other electricity markets and is one of the best functioning markets in Europe.

Joint efforts between the Nordic countries are underway to promote the development of flexible and smooth functioning electricity markets, and to encourage cost efficient implementation of AMM solutions.

AMM is the fastest growing segment of the global metering business, with demand being driven by deregulation, environmental concerns, power generation and network constraints, sophisticated energy pricing schemes, and gains in operational efficiency.

STRONG FOOTHOLD IN THE MARKET
There are almost 14 million metering points in the Nordic countries and nearly four million of them are already contracted AMM system deliveries. Landis+Gyr Enermet’s share of these is about a half. The company has also implemented many large scale system solutions that use several communication technologies. They can also be integrated into different information systems and device environments.

Using multiple communication media is the most secure solution to offer consumers cost efficient AMM services in the Nordic countries as the sparsely populated areas and mountain terrain are demanding environments: what works in cities is not cost efficient and easily applied in rural areas, and vice versa.

LANDIS+GYR ENERMET AS DATA INTEGRATOR
The amount of data in the AMM system and in other IT systems increases exponentially when network companies implement AMM in the residential segment. Reliable and real time data exchange between different systems is a key factor when the goal is to cost efficiently manage metering data throughout the entire metering value chain. This is when high quality, two-way integration becomes a necessity.

The Enermet AIM Integration Application (AIMIA) is a flexible integration solution that offers data exchange services for integration needs. It enables seamless and reliable data flow between various systems, such as the Customer Information System (CIS), Energy Data Management System (EDMS) and Network Information System (NIS).

GETTING CONNECTED
All information systems belonging to a network company can be connected to the same AIMIA application, and at the same time maximise the use of resources and metering data.

Enermet AIMIA is based on the processes of the network company integrating all essential operations, such as reading metering devices to further refine data in AIM. Features this provides include billing and balance settlement purposes; changing contract information when a customer moves, changes a supplier or product; transfer of installation information during the deployment process; and controlling relays to connect and disconnect supply.

TERMS ARE CLEAR AND CONCISE
As Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) is developing at an extremely fast pace, the terms are becoming old fashioned and lack description – when new functionality is added to the system, for example, AMR becomes too narrow and simple a term. To overcome this problem, Landis+Gyr Enermet uses the term AMM as it best describes the versatility and advanced approach of the AIM solution.

AMM_3:2007

Using multiple communication media is the most secure solution to offer consumers cost efficient AMM services in the Nordic countries. The region’s sparsely populated areas and mountain terrain are demanding environments - what works in cities is not cost efficient and easily applied in rural areas and vice versa

AMR IS EVOLVING INTO AUTOMATIC USE OF METERING DATA

Today the most advanced AMM systems produce extremely versatile data that can be used much more efficiently than before. However, there are no rules for data usage between energy market parties. The bottleneck in exploiting the possibilities in advanced AMM lies in creating common regulations, and determining who can buy this data.

In order to fully maximise the data that AMM systems offer, creating clear rules and regulations would be a good starting point in going forward.

At present, network companies that own meters and AMM solutions are only using the minimum amount of data; instead, they could refine this data and sell it to other parties. This kind of trade would benefit all parties including network companies, consumers, and energy trade partners.

WHAT'S NEW?
The latest developments in each of the countries in Scandinavia are as follows:

Finland – the benefits are clear
Finnish Energy Industries, a trade association for network companies, recommends that its customers extend the scope of hourly meter reading. According to the recommendation, by the beginning of 2011 electricity metering will be based on reading and recording energy consumption data hourly at all sites that have more than 3 x 63 A main fuses and an annual energy consumption of 50,000 kWh or more. The number of such electricity measurement sites in Finland – mainly industrial – is estimated at 60,000, of which 20,000 need to be updated in order to comply with the current recommendation.

Sweden – legislation rules
Legislation is setting guidelines for AMM implementation in Sweden, unlike in other Nordic countries. All meters must be read monthly by mid-2009. The implementation rate is therefore faster than in other Nordic countries. All major network companies have started implementation and smaller companies have formed alliances to investigate the alternatives and to make common purchases.

Norway – late awakening
The Norwegian regulator NVE says it is time for a rollout of smart metering to its 2.6 million customers nationwide. It expects the project to be completed before 2013. The rollout, which is expected to benefit both consumers and network companies, will cost between 500 and 600 million euro.

Denmark – rational reasoning
The main drivers in Denmark are not the authorities but the benefits that AMM brings. The main benefits for network companies are quality related, including:

  • Electricity quality information Improved management of power cuts
  • Network status management
  • Identifying and reacting quickly to errors.

Efficiency related benefits include:

  • Efficient customer service
  • No site visits when a customer moves, changes supplier or electricity is connected/ disconnected
  • AMM also improves the functionality of electricity markets.

Consumers across the country also benefit from improved customer service and accurate billing. Studies show that increased energy consumption awareness leads to energy savings.

The energy supplier, on the other hand, is able to follow consumption in real time and optimise energy purchases. New product and service creation is also possible.

Denmark is a pioneer in implementing smart metering to multi-energy sites. A project to connect electricity and district heating to an automatic metering management system is underway.

NEXT STEPS
Landis+Gyr Enermet recognises that there is high demand for AMM solutions as general awareness regarding the link between energy efficiency and environmental issues increases. The company is working to maintain its position as a frontrunner in the AMM business through the development of innovative solutions. It plans to introduce new technologies and business approaches to continuously improve its customers’ performance.