Smart Meters

Smart meters are part of a $24.5 million investment by The Power Company Limited (TPCL) and Electricity Invercargill Limited (EIL) to ensure their networks in Southland and West Otago are future-proofed.

The first stage of the smart meter project was completed in April 2014, this stage consisted of the installation and commissioning of the smart meter communication equipment. The communication equipment was erected throughout the TPCL region along with the outlying parts of the EIL network.

In May 2015 the meter installation process began and as at the end of January 2015 there are to date over 5,000 meters installed into houses, farms and businesses around the Southland and West Otago. PowerNet has contracted and trained local electricians who have been busy installing meters for primarily for Contact Energy, Genesis and Meridian customers.

PowerNet is currently working to get arrangements in place with all power retailers in our region as soon as possible.

How will I know when my meter is going to be changed?

Electricity retailers will be contacting their customers either by letter or email prior to the installation process.

Are they really smart meters?

Once installed onto a meter board the smart meter will be read remotely and through the secure communication system will automatically provide power consumption data back to the electricity retailer.

The new Smart meters allow retailers to invoice their customers on the actual power consumption. Previously these charges were based on estimate consumption, so some adjustments in charges may occur after the new meter has been installed.

The newsletter articles below were recently published for consumers in The Power Company Limited (mainly rural Southland) and Electricity Invercargill Limited (mainly Invercargill City and Bluff township) areas.

View our promotional video below or click here to read our Q&A’s to learn more about Smart meters.

 

Electricity Invercargill Limited

“Over 32,000 electricity meters will be replaced in homes and businesses over three years as Electricity Invercargill Limited (EIL) switches to smart meters,” PowerNet chief executive Jason Franklin says.

“Across the EIL network, this $6.5 million project is going to ensure we, as network managers, have a better ability to manage security and reliability of supply,” he says.

“Consumers will see the benefits as their electricity retailers start to use the smart metering technology.”

The smart meters, which use a radio frequency mesh network to communicate with a central control centre, will start to be installed from 2014.

“The connectivity gives us the ability to manage the network in real time. We will be able to see exactly where faults are occurring. We can also measure energy loss between substations and consumers, manage peak loads and of course the data provided to retailers will enable them to work with their customers to change the way they use electricity in the future,” Mr Franklin says.

EIL is part of the SmartCo consortium, which is installing smart meters across 10 networks in New Zealand.

Mr Franklin says the smart meters would replace all other meters, reducing the number of meters across the local network from 32,000 to 19,000.

“PowerNet is managing the project on behalf of EIL, as the Company invests for the future,” he says.

The Power Company Limited

From April 2014 onwards, prepare for the biggest investment in your electricity network for 10 years.

Over 76,000 electricity meters will be replaced in your homes, businesses and farms over three years as The Power Company switches to smart meters, PowerNet chief executive Jason Franklin says.

Across the TPC network, this $18 million project is going to ensure we, as network managers, have a better ability to manage security and reliability of supply, he says.

Consumers will see the benefits as their electricity retailers start to use the smart metering technology.

The smart meters, which use a radio frequency mesh network to communicate with a central control centre, will start to be installed from 2014.

The connectivity gives us the ability to manage the network in real time.  We will be able to see exactly where faults are occurring, instead of having to work via a process of elimination.

We can also measure energy loss between substations and consumers, manage peak loads, and of course the data provided to retailers will enable them to work with their customers to change the way they use electricity in the future, Mr Franklin says.

The Power Company is part of the SmartCo consortium, which is installing smart meters across 10 networks in New Zealand.

Mr Franklin says the smart meters would replace all other meters, reducing the number of meters across the local network from 76,500 to 44,000.

PowerNet is managing the project on behalf of The Power Company, as the company invests for the future, he says.

The Power Company’s sister network, Electricity Invercargill Limited, is also having smart meters installed at the same time.

You may wish to read further information and back ground on smart meter technology by visiting the following websites.

Electricity Authoritywww.ea.govt.nz

The Crown entity responsible for regulating the New Zealand electricity market.

Information specific to smart meters can be found here – Smart meters – information for households (note this is a .pdf download)

Ministry of Health – www.health.govt.nz

Provides Information on household items and electronics – Information specific to smart meters can be found here

“A smart meter is a device which sits inside your meter box. It uses radiofrequency signals to tell your power company how much power you’ve used. Exposures to radiofrequency radiation from smart meters are small fractions of limits in the national exposure standard.”

Counties Powerwww.countiespower.com

Counties Power ensure the supply of reliable power to Franklin and parts of Papakura in the North Island and are well advanced in the roll out of smart meter technology. Information specific to their project can be found here

WEL Networkswww.wel.co.nz

WEL Networks are in the business of providing the electricity to the homes, businesses and farms in the Waikato region. WEL Networks commissioned an independent review of the radiofrequency fields emitted by their smart meters. This information can be found here.