Smart Meters: Consumption Becomes Smarter and Smarter

Published on Friday, 11 March 2016

The architecture of smart cities – featuring digital distribution networks, energy storage and smart management systems, high efficiency LED street lights and electric mobility – has a key element that is already present in the homes of millions of Enel customers in Europe and Latin America: the electronic meter.

We were the first company in the world to introduce smart meters, through a pilot project that was launched in Italy in 2001. Smart meters allow us to perform a number of operations remotely, without having to send technicians on site, including supply operations management (such as activation and termination), monitoring and changing technical supply parameters, thus preventing tampering with consumption data. Electronic meters also make contractual changes and business operations easier to perform than in the past.

By having access to real-time information on their smart meters, customers are more aware of their power consumption and can consequently choose the most convenient rates and times.
Our Spanish subsidiary, Endesa, has invested 600 million Euros in the large-scale installation of the remote management system, one of its key projects. As many as 7 million smart meters have already been installed, accounting for 60% of the company's current fleet. The installation plan will be completed by 2017, well ahead of the date set by Spanish legislation to complete the device replacement process (December 31, 2018). Endesa is Spain’s leading company in this process, and its 2016-2019 Strategic Plan estimates that at the close of 2016, 80% of the meters will have been installed, 70% more than the figure required by law.

The replacement process in the areas in which Endesa operates as a distributor (the Spanish regions of Catalonia, Aragon, Andalusia, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands) includes the installation of new meters for all customers with contracted power of up to 15 KW, and the installation of 140,000 concentrators, which enable the system to communicate with the associated meters.

Today, Endesa manages consumption information for 6.4 million customers, for a total of about 153 million hourly records per day. The website www.endesadistribucion.es provides users further information concerning the company’s power distribution network and also allows customers with smart meters and a contracted power of up to 15 kW to see their ‘hourly load curve.’
The installation of new meters in Spain is one of the many projects that are being implemented in the various countries in which we operate. In Colombia, our distribution company Codensa has installed 20,000 devices in the capital Bogotá, as part of a larger project to digitise the electric grid over the next three years.

In Romania, during 2015, we installed 30,000 smart meters, and we have presented a project to the authorities, involving the installation of 2.7 million devices (within the next five years), one for each of our customers in the country. We have also made plans to install advanced devices with even more smart features in Italy, where there are already 32 million smart meters.