Swiss energy supply companies are required by the federal government to replace their conventional electricity meters with smart meters. These are an important component of smart distribution grids and lay the foundation for further digitization in the energy sector. This not only creates numerous opportunities for energy suppliers, but also for new providers and for consumers.
"Smart meters are the foundation for intelligent measurement, monitoring and control of a digital energy system. This brings enormous advantages - and not just for consumers. With our innovative solutions, our customers join the smart meter ecosystem and benefit from the simplest energy management in Switzerland. As a reliable IoT partner for gas, water, district heating and electricity, Sunrise UPC is accompanying customers through this transformation," says Robert Wigger, Chief Business Officer Sunrise UPC.
An example of smart meters are electricity meters that can digitally store, transmit and receive consumption and status data. The data is usually collected every 15 minutes and transmitted to the electricity suppliers in encrypted form (anonymized). Smart meters thus make a significant contribution to the transparency of actual power consumption and the current network load. This brings benefits for all parties involved in the electricity market. The same also applies to the gas, water and district heating supply sectors.
Advantages and application examples for energy suppliers
- Simplified meter reading in real time
In the past, meter reading was a time-consuming, labor-intensive manual process. From now on, intelligent energy meters will take over the reading and transmit all important data to the control center. This reduces costs and at the same time opens up opportunities for new services.
- Quality assurance
The automated readout completely prevents human error. Remote monitoring allows faults to be detected at an early stage and irregularities to be identified more easily. Measures can be taken immediately, with the highest data security and for the best quality of energy supply.
- Automation and new services
The switch to smart meters will increase internal efficiency and optimize processes. At the same time, added value is created for customers. Billing automation and recommended actions for consumers are a good example. Costs are transparently reported to customers, and data-based recommendations based on immediate and projected energy needs help customers reduce their energy consumption and costs.
Digital data for more (energy) efficiency
For example, tenants and home-owners will no longer have to make estimated advance payments if the actual electricity consumption is read and billed directly. Utility companies can significantly reduce billing errors and the effort required for the readout process. Furthermore, tenants and property owners can access data on their actual electricity consumption via a customer platform. Usage patterns can be identified and optimized to lower the consumption. Energy efficiency is increased and costs are saved.
In addition, smart meters have another important function: Thanks to the ongoing data collection, they allow for targeted control of the current flow. Smart meters are thus an important component of intelligent distribution networks (smart grids), which allow utility companies not only to supply consumers with electricity, but also to automatically feed green electricity which is not produced centrally (e.g., by means of solar energy) into the grids, store it and redistribute it. The use of renewable energies is significantly optimized.
Networking as a prerequisite
In order to use the advantages of digital electricity meters, they are embedded in a stable communication network. Mobile radio technologies such as 5G offer the advantage that no high investments in network expansion are necessary. The multi-award-winning Sunrise UPC mobile network offers the best connections at all times and across the board with a wide range of technologies from 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G to NarrowBand IoT and Cat-M1. For smart meters, which are often located in basements, the Narrowband IoT radio standard is ideal. It is able to penetrate even thick walls and is very energy efficient.
Sunrise UPC and the Smart Metering Ecosystem
Based on the Internet of Things (IoT), simplified energy management is the core benefit of smart metering for utility companies. From the meter to the application, everything is connected. Thanks to close cooperation with leading hardware and software providers, data-based process automation becomes possible, offering significant efficiency gains.
Access to the Sunrise UPC energy ecosystem makes it possible for both traditional and new providers to develop new applications. In this new ecosystem, digital applications will emerge very quickly that were previously unthinkable. With Sunrise UPC, companies benefit from a complete ecosystem for the energy management of the future. The Sunrise UPC energy ecosystem is characterized in particular by smart energy partnerships with renowned equipment manufacturers for electricity, gas, heat and water, as well as with platform providers for head-end systems and data processing and specialized providers of business applications.
More information: www.sunrise.ch/smartmetering