energy saving

Endesa installs first smart meters in Spain

Endesa has started rolling out its remote management plan, which entails the installation of new smart meters in the homes of the company’s 13 million domestic customers in Spain in less than six years. The company will invest over €1,600 million by 2015, create some 2,000 direct jobs and make progress towards the creation of smart grids.

Endesa recently installed the first smart meter for homes in Spain in the city of Malaga. The new system was connected to the grid in Smartcity, the efficiency project spearheaded by Endesa in Andalusia.

The new devices (based on the leading-edge technology currently successfully used in the remote control system operated by Enel in Italy) will permit the meters of domestic customers to be managed and read remotely, improving service quality and providing more reliable information so that consumption can be planned more efficiently.

The introduction of the meter marks the start of the large-scale replacement of the old meters in homes via the digital metering plan launched by Endesa. Thanks to this plan, the company is three years ahead of the deadline for compliance with pertinent European and Spanish legislation and is spearheading the development of smart grids.

Remote management will enable customers to determine their electricity consumption almost instantaneously and to select the best rates for their needs as well as plan consumption. Moreover, all connection, disconnection, reconnection, power control and rate change operations can be carried out remotely and in real time.

Remote management also has benefits for the electricity system: it provides reliable and constant information on the performance of the network, enhancing operational decision-making; improves the overall efficiency of the electricity system, helping to avoid overloads; helps reduce distribution losses; and enhances management of energy demand, improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.

Thanks to the installation of smart meters, customers will be able to enjoy the future commercial and management applications offered by the next generation of electricity grids. In this way Endesa is taking the first step towards the creation of smart grids and this is why the company has chosen to install the first meters in Smartcity. The SmartCity project is a groundbreaking initiative in Malaga spearheaded by Endesa, which is leading a group of 11 companies to develop a new energy management model for cities to achieve greater energy efficiency, lower carbon dioxide emissions and increased consumption of renewable energy. It is a community of 300 industrial, 900 service and 11,000 domestic customers.

New generation smart meters

Endesa started working on the project in 2002 with the aim of providing remote management services to domestic customers (contracts with power equal to or lower than 15kW) so that they can plan their electricity consumption in a more efficient, precise and flexible manner. The first pilot tests took place in 2007 and 2008 and involved 12,000 customers in Andalusia and Catalonia. As a result Endesa became the first Spanish company to develop a remote management system in line with pertinent Spanish and European directives. The company, drawing on the experience and know-how of Enel (which already successfully uses a similar remote management system for over 32 million customers in Italy), has developed a new generation of meters based on the latest available technology and is ahead of the legal deadline for their large-scale installation.

The meter will be installed without inconveniencing customers as no work is required. In addition to the equipment installed in the homes of customers, Endesa will set up a so-called “concentrator” system in all its LV transformer centres which will manage the meters automatically and remotely, communicating with them via the electricity grid and using a PLC communication protocol. Data encryption and authentication ensure complete security for the customer and for the information that will be transported via the network.

This PLC telecommunications protocol, developed with Enel, is already available to the sector via the Meters and More company set up by Endesa and Enel in Brussels to manage the standardisation of the technology with any company that may be interested in Europe.

Endesa will gradually replace old metering equipment, starting in Malaga, Seville and Barcelona and then continuing in cities including Badajoz, Zaragoza, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Tenerife. By the end of 2010 there will be 150,000 smart meters in operation. Production of the first batch of 3,500,000 meters and the domestic installation operations have been put out to tender.

Endesa’s remote management system was recently recognised in the European Utility Awards at the Metering Europe 2009 conference, where it won a prize in the Business Performance category. This award confirms the quality of the leading-edge technology employed in the remote management project, the only large-scale installation initiative currently underway in Europe.

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