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How small utilities can manage big meter data

Smaller utilities often face more challenges in deploying smart grid technologies, especially smart meters, because by themselves they can’t take advantage of economies of scale. But the past two weeks, while traveling in Germany, we discussed how eMeter can assist the smaller utilities there (Stadtwerke) — which operate in similar ways to cooperative or municipal utilities in North America.

At the same time I had the chance to sit on the steering committee meeting for the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) — the entity which operates a central market metering data management system for 70 local distribution companies (LDCs). This system has enabled time-of-use pricing for more than 3.7 million homes in Ontario Canada.

In all, 70 LDCs have integrated with IESO’s system — and 4.3 million meters are registered in that system, with reads from over 3.5 million meters processed daily. The IESO system is not only performing at scale, it also solves the economies of scale problem for 800 smaller utilities (which cannot effectively implement that level of metering data management on their own).

IESO’s system marks significant progress in demonstrating the flexibility and scalability of eMeter’s Energy IP platform to meet not just a technical challenge but meet the market need.

This represents a possible approach for delivering data services to the Stadtwerke in Germany’s energy market.

The U.K. is implementing a somewhat similar centralized data services market as part of that country’s Smart Meter Implementation Programme. In that case, the Data Communications Company (which, unlike the IESO, will also provide the communications link) will be the market operator for 53 million electric and gas smart meters to be installed by 2019.

Learn more about how IESO works.