Ericsson enhances smart metering in Australia

Australian energy distribution firm SP AusNet has selected Ericsson’s 3G network-enabled solution to develop, implement and support the company’s smart meter program in Victoria, Australia.

Ericsson’s solution uses public 3G mobile networks in Australia to communicate with the smart meters, and SP AusNet now expects to extend its service by an additional 108,000 meters in rural and urban areas.

“This Australian smart grid solution is a first in combining an existing 3G network, a 3G-enabled smart meter module, a purpose- built meter management system and the systems integration required to pull it all together,” said Håkan Eriksson, head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand.

“The utilisation of secure public wireless networks to support smart grids is significant, as it allows utilities to focus on delivering energy to homes and businesses by minimising the task of managing a complex communications network,” he added.

Although the cost-effective solution from Ericsson has been developed specifically for SP AusNet smart meters, the design is able to be modified to work with other vendors’ metering solutions.

"By leveraging 3G and LTE 3GPP standards-based technology, utilities developing smart grids can access the benefits from the ecosystem and economies of scale enabled by the global telecoms sector," Eriksson said.

A number of operators have entered the smart metering field in 2013, including Telefónica in the UK, and Telekom Austria.

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