GPRS Mobile Network for Smart Metering
Around the world, the electricity supply industry is turning to ‘smart’ meters to lower costs, reduce emissions and improve the management of customer supplies. Smart meters collect detailed consumption information and using this feedback consumers can better understand their energy usage which in turn enables them to modify their consumption to save money and help to cut carbon emissions. A smart meter can be defined in many ways, but generally includes an element of two-way communication between the household meter and the utility provider to efficiently collect detailed energy usage data. Some implementations include consumer feedback beyond the energy bill to include online web data, SMS text messages or an information display in consumers’ premises. Providing a cost-effective, reliable communications mechanism is one of the most challenging aspects of a smart meter implementation. In New Zealand, the utilities have embraced smart metering and designed cost effective ways for it to be implemented. The New Zealand government has encouraged such a move to smart metering by ensuring the energy legislation is consistent with the delivery of benefits to the consumer while allowing innovation in this area. On the ground, AMS is a leader in the deployment of smart metering and associated services. Several of New Zealand’s energy retailers were looking for smart metering services for their residential and small business customers which will eventually account for over 500,000 meters when the multi-year national deployment program is concluded. To respond to these requirements, AMS needed to put together a solution that included data communications between each meter and the central data collection point and the solution proposed by Vodafone satisfied that requirement.