Big Innovation in Small Package

Published on Friday, 31 October 2014

A briefcase that enhances the efficiency of electricity supply, helps consumers save money on their bills and improves services provided to consumers: Felipe Vasconcelos, Head of Electricity Losses for the South at Ampla, the Enel Group's Brazilian distribution subsidiary came up with the innovative idea through his everyday working experiences, and the device has already began producing tangible results.

Responding to the needs of Ampla's distribution personnel, Vasconcelos looked to improve analysis and maintenance of Endesa Brazil's electronic meters. After having observed that the method employed for measuring of customer consumption often produced inaccurate results and led to the unnecessary replacement of meters, Vasconcelos looked for a solution that would be practical and efficient both for his colleagues and for customers.

Small and portable, with a modern design, Vasconcelos explains that the briefcase "generates a "ghost" load that simulates the consumption of an electric device, enabling the rapid and accurate assessment of whether a meter is functioning ". The device, currently used by most of Ampla's and Coelce's technicians, has a low power generator that simulates load and electronic components that increases testing accuracy.

The increased savings and efficiency speak for themselves: the initial €65,000 (189,000 Brazilian reales) investment led to savings of €160,000 in the first year alone, thanks to a 91.4 percent reduction of unnecessary meter replacements.

The invention is an example of open innovation and the result of the business' crowdsourcing model Eidos Market, a long-term project in Latin America that since February 2014 has been open to all Group employees, who have been given the opportunity to help improve Health and Safety activities, professional performance, the environment and customer care.