energy saving

Sentec and OnStream partner to bring Mobius-based smart meters to UK

Sentec, the metering technology specialist, has finalised a licensing agreement with OnStream, a National Grid company, to bring Sentec’s flagship Mobius technology to the UK smart electricity meter market.

OnStream, which offers a flexible and professional range of meter asset management and installation services to UK energy suppliers, is using Sentec’s class-leading Mobius current sensor to produce a customised smart electricity meter that is the first to be developed specifically to fit the particular profile of the burgeoning UK market. This partnership has resulted in the first meter to be launched in the UK to take advantage of the outstanding performance measurement functionality offered by the Mobius platform.

The announcement of the deal coincides with a sea change in the traditional supply chain in the metering market, as traditional meter manufacturers face competition from new entrants such as systems integrators, and now, MAPs and MAMs are looking at the opportunities offered by custom meter design and build.

“This shift has resulted in all metering businesses, suppliers and customers redefining the way they work together, with more MAMs, such as OnStream, turning to bespoke meters as an affordable solution for their different marketplaces,” explains Mark England, managing director of Sentec.

OnStream selected Sentec to assist them in creating the right meter for the market, featuring sophisticated communications interface and metrology based on the Mobius current sensor. The performance of Mobius is well-proven: the technology currently acts as the basis for more than 5 million meters in the US. It provides a highly cost-effective platform simplifying the design process which has allowed this meter to be approved for market in record time.

The meter uses GSM which allows it to use the strongest mobile network available for each site. Furthermore, it has excellent memory capabilities, is both robust and reliable and it is particularly suitable for the rapidly changing UK market because it is can be easily upgraded remotely to meet existing and future standards and requirements around functionality, tariffs and home area networking.

Commenting on the project, England said: “This partnership comes at a vital time for the UK: with the national smart meter roll-out beginning in 2012, there is a pressing need for proven solutions that are specifically tailored to the needs of the UK market. Indeed, in order to meet the 2020 deadline for the completion of the roll-out, we need to start installing and using meters before 2012, so that the UK can put in place the new data and billing systems that will be needed to work alongside smart meters. OnStream is fully committed to driving forward the UK smart metering markets and is the perfect partner to support Sentec in bringing our expertise into UK homes.”

Clare Naunton, Smart Development Manager for OnStream concurred: “Smart metering is on the brink of rapid expansion in the UK and it’s critical to create a product that is perfectly suited to the region. The days of the one-size-fits-all meters are over and the opportunities in the future are based on increasing modularisation of meter design and lower costs of manufacturing as meters become pure electronic products that are found in every home.“

Sentec and OnStream are leading the way in the new competitive landscape of smart meters and will bring the Mobius-based meters to the market in a trial due to start in summer 2010.

Sentec provides product development and innovation that meets the need for intelligent products in the energy and water markets. It develops and licences technology in the utility sector with a particular focus on smart metering and smart grids globally. It also offers product development consulting in a wider range of industries and challenges. Much of its work is confidential, but partners include Sensus Metering, Morphy Richards, NCR and Prodrive.

OnStream is one of the UK’s leading metering companies and will be the largest installer of smart meters in Great Britain in 2010. OnStream provides gas and electricity metering solutions to energy suppliers across the UK. This includes installing and managing more than 4 million domestic and non-domestic meters.

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