Jerson Kelman,
President, Light
 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil --- (METERING.COM) --- October 5, 2010 - The Brazilian utilities Light and Cemig are to invest R$65 million (US$38.3 million) in a smart grid research and development program, with the aims of developing the technology locally as well as improving operational efficiency, reducing commercial losses, and enhancing interaction with customers.

In a statement the companies said that the two pilot projects will serve as a testing ground for products developed in the R&D program. In Light’s concession area in Rio de Janeiro, around one thousand customers will participate. Of these, 300 customers will test automation with the use of smart plugs and smart appliances as well as innovative communication channels.

For consumers, the application of this technology in Brazil will allow the provision of new services and the streamlining of existing ones, mainly through maintenance and remote service. The R&D program also increases the number of communication channels of the concessionaire with the consumer, for example, via the use of television, cell phones, web applications and advanced displays that will enable them to monitor their consumption.

Another major benefit to society will be more effective programs on the rational and efficient use of energy, along with real-time analysis of the needs of the electrical system.

“The partnership between the utilities seeks to turn the project into a reference model in the country, including obtaining multiple patents, such as for electronic measuring equipment,” commented Light president Jerson Kelman.

In Minas Gerais, where Cemig is responsible for power distribution to 774 cities, the deployment will be in the city of Sete Lagoas, some 70 km from Belo Horizonte, and will cover approximately two thousand customers.

In the opinion of the president of Cemig, Djalma Bastos de Morais, “research and development of new products and services related to the smart grid value chain will provide more active participation of consumers in managing their energy and allow the utility to evaluate the benefits and demands of adjusting to the new reality. It is also a great opportunity to forge even closer relationships with our clients, whose participation is critical to the success of the program.”

Besides Light and Cemig, other partners in the project are the national technology development organizations Lactec and CPqD, and the company CAS Tecnologia, as well as universities and other bodies such as the national standards institute, Inmetro.

The program is expected to last three years and consists of several integrated projects, which will research various topics, including measuring intelligent power, digital certification, new consumer products and services, integration of distributed generation and storage, islanding, automation and monitoring of distribution networks and substations, energy efficiency solutions, demand side management, intelligent charging of electric vehicles, and new channels of customer relationships. All of these will be supported by a technical and functional architecture comprising a telecommunications infrastructure, advanced computer systems, methods of information security, digital certification and smart algorithms.

The Light and Cemig R&D smart grid program complements ongoing studies coordinated by the national energy regulator, Aneel, and the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) to automate and integrate the power grids in Brazil.