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The Chapel Group

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Is the introduction of metering competition a good thing?

I have long struggled with the idea of introducing competition as a way to rollout smart meters as is happening in Australia.  I support the concept of open markets, but I wonder if the Australian Energy Regulator’s principle of ‘introducing competition wherever feasible’ has gone one step too far this time.  As we have seen in other industry verticals, open markets with little regulatory oversight don’t always serve the consumer.

I am unconvinced the introduction of smart metering competition delivers value as it fragments a critical part of the value chain.  The value of smart meters is rooted in data analysis, where over time, large datasets provide insights leading to improved products and services to the whole community.

Having access to these datasets that represent a large part of the target location is key to delivering value, for example:

  • The UK is driving for anonymised data sets to be made available as part of its open data access policy.  This can be used by the government, academia and private enterprise to get a macro view of energy usage.
  • The Green Button initiative in the US is now at the stage where a person can approve daily access to their energy data so a third party can deliver products and services that perhaps their electricity utility doesn’t.
  • Dozens of Utilities globally are using the data to justify improvements to safety, reliability and cost of delivering power.  This value is at the heart of their smart metering business case.
  • Regulators can use the data generated by smart meters to keep the network operators honest, and to further encourage investments in behind the meter technologies.

The Australian model leaves the distribution of smart meters to retailers – I have written about some of the the issues I see with this previously here, and questions still remain. Given the above, do you believe the introduction of Smart Metering Competition is in the best interest of the consumer and the broader community?

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In our book ‘utilidocs™, building blocks to a Digital Utility’ we describe what services will help you succeed with smart metering and demand response.  Get your paperback or kindle version here.  All profits go to Solar Sisters.

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#connectedera #digitalutility #smartmeters #demandresponse #opendata #demandsidemanagement #DSM

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Contact me to find out how we help electricity companies use energy data to gain competitive advantage.

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Will Itron’s acquisition of Comverge shake up the demand response market?

The benefits of demand response programs is being referenced regularly in business cases for smart metering, so Itron’s recent acquisition of Comverge comes as no surprise.

It makes sense if you look at the trend towards automation and away from behaviour-based demand response, along with the growing adoption of distributed generation and storage.  Bringing together smart metering and demand response technologies that can monitor and control the energy consumption of residential and commercial properties, introduces some exciting value propositions for Utilities.

Continue reading “Will Itron’s acquisition of Comverge shake up the demand response market?”

Are we entering the age of Demand Response in Australia?

Australia has long been one of the global leaders in its adoption of residential rooftop solar and more recently as a potential leader in the adoption of battery storage.

However, Australia has been in the dark ages with its approach to demand response (DR) when compared to other markets around the world. So, the announcement last week by AEMO and ARENA to “Pilot Demand Response to manage extreme summer peaks” is a welcome change to recent thinking and an exciting move toward Australia’s sustainability goals.

Continue reading “Are we entering the age of Demand Response in Australia?”

The top 25 areas to explore when selecting your long term smart metering partner – part III

In this, the third, final (and longest) post of my three-part series, I focus on quality, security, and value-add services you may want to consider as part of your tender. As with my previous posts, even if you already have a smart metering partner, these are useful discussions to have with them.  The conversations I recommend you have with your current or potential partner go beyond what I have described in these three posts.  If you are interested in understanding more you can buy my book here.   Picking up where we left off…  Continue reading “The top 25 areas to explore when selecting your long term smart metering partner – part III”

The top 25 areas to explore when selecting your long term smart metering partner – part II

In my last post, I covered the discussion points to have with vendors for strategic alignment and governance.  In this post, the second of a three-part series, I place the lens over the smart metering solution itself.  If you already have a smart metering partner, these are useful discussions to have with them so you can course-correct before you hit any major issues. Picking up where we left off…. Continue reading “The top 25 areas to explore when selecting your long term smart metering partner – part II”

The top 25 areas to explore when selecting your long term smart metering partner – part I

I have great memories of working with my team back in 2012 when we released our first smart metering tender.  We were a new team and did not know a great deal about smart metering.  We put out a request for proposal (RFP) that we felt delivered the right balance of technical questions and business outcomes.  Since then I have been involved in several smart metering tenders as well as having reviewed many more from around the world. Continue reading “The top 25 areas to explore when selecting your long term smart metering partner – part I”

Is your smart meter actually smart?

I have lost count of the number of debates I have had around what makes a meter smart.  Sure, a meter that can remotely capture consumption data at short intervals, can be remotely read, can be told to connect and disconnect, and can receive instructions to upgrade is definitely smarter than earlier generations of meters. But do these qualities make them smart? Continue reading “Is your smart meter actually smart?”

Will embedded networks pose a risk to regulated utilities?

Embedded networks pose a growing revenue risk to regulated utilities around the world, especially utilities that operate in densely populated areas with an increasing proportion of apartment buildings. Australia’s Energy Market Operator defines embedded networks as “private electricity networks which serve multiple premises and are located within, and connected to, a distribution or transmission system through a parent connection point.” Think of apartment blocks, shopping centres, retirement villages, etc. Continue reading “Will embedded networks pose a risk to regulated utilities?”

Using smart meters to help you move house.

In our book, utilidocs®: building blocks to a digital utility, we provide insight into every stage of the smart metering and demand response journey. In the coming weeks, I will share some of the services detailed in our book that become possible as a result of smart metering and demand response technologies. This week we look at how to leverage smart metering technology to help customers move house. Continue reading “Using smart meters to help you move house.”

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