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The electrical grid of the future

Customer storiesby One magazine10/06/2014

Thanks to the smart meters from Eandis, consumers will be able to analyze their energy consumption much more effectively. But that’s not the only reason why Eandis has installed 40,000 of these meters in recent years as part of a large-scale pilot project.

Thanks to the smart meters from Eandis, consumers will be able to analyze their energy consumption much more effectively. But that’s not the only reason why Eandis has installed 40,000 of these meters in recent years as part of a large-scale pilot project.

Green solutions to generate heat and power, such as windmills, solar panels, heat pumps, etc., are becoming increasingly popular for individuals and companies as well as electricity providers. After all, if we want to meet the targets of Europe 2020, we’ll have to reduce our energy consumption. But this new method of working places completely different demands on the distribution grid, explains Patrick Devos, Program Manager Smart Metering at Eandis. “Generating power through traditional plants produces a constant flow of power, with the occasional dip. With eco-friendly methods, the picture is much more erratic, with high peaks and deep valleys. This is normal, because they depend on natural elements such as the wind and the sun. If there’s a lot of wind or sun, there’s a lot of electricity, and vice versa. But that also means that we need to approach distribution in a whole new way. By making more information available to customers, awareness can be raised of the cost of energy, and customers will actively respond to this.”

Smart meters on smart grids

“More and more people now have solar panels or heat pumps at home,” is how Patrick Devos frames the problem. “A positive evolution. But what if all of those panels generate too much energy on a sunny day? Then we risk overloading the grid. Partly for that reason, we introduced the smart meters. We’re now better able to monitor the power flow on the grid remotely, so that investments can be made in a much more targeted way. For consumers too, these meters represent a big step forward. They let consumers analyze their consumption in real time and thus use energy more economically. Thanks to the smart household appliances that are currently being developed, a meter could, for example, start up the washing machine when there’s a lot of wind and energy prices are low.”

With the help of the operator

However, smart meters require smart data connections. Data is constantly being sent to and from the smart meters, and is therefore encrypted for greater security. That requires an excellent connection. “The data from the smart meters can often be transmitted via SIM cards. Via a platform such as the one provided by Belgacom, all these cards can be managed at once. That will be handy when everyone has smart meters. But we’re still far from that point. We are now entering the end of the second phase,” notes Devos. After an initial trial project with 4,300 smart meters, in 2012, Eandis installed 40,000 smart meters in homes in order to assess the technical feasibility. For the project, Eandis is using the fixed and mobile network from Belgacom. Via the Explore network, Eandis was able to develop a private VPN to the two different networks. The necessary tools for integration with the Eandis NOC and privacy and cyber security are also provided. The evaluation of the pilot project is now underway. No definitive conclusions have yet been made, but the company will likely opt for a segmented, phased rollout to specific target groups, such as energyefficient new construction projects.

Business benefits

– Central management of all SIM cards from smart meters
– High-speed connection for transmission via private VPN

Company profile

Eandis is a Flemish operating company for electricity and natural gas distribution. It has over 4,250 employees who are active in 239 municipalities in Flanders.

More info?

For more information on Belgacom Explore, visit the Belgacom website or contact your Account Manager.

One

One

One magazine is the Proximus B2B magazine for CIOs and IT professionals in large and medium-sized organisations.

One magazine is the Proximus B2B magazine for CIOs and IT professionals in large and medium-sized organisations.


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