Estonian electricity utility Elektrilevi has signed an eight-year contract with Ericsson under which the network manufacturer will supply, deploy, systems integrate and run a smart-metering network.
Estonia is one of a number of European countries that are installing smart meters to help meet the EU target of improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020. Elektrilevi has nearly half a million subscribers on its network.
By supporting new billing arrangements, smart meters could help consumers to control their energy consumption and reduce costs. They might also benefit utilities by cutting out the need for manual meter reading and providing savings through fraud detection.
Ericsson has been contracted to supply services using the mobile internet and power-line communication technologies for management and data information, including the deployment of 630,000 smart meters. It will also integrate meter systems with data management operation support systems (OSS). Ericsson will operate the smart metering network during its deployment.
"Ericsson's solution offers us cost savings and enhanced customer satisfaction," says Mait Rahi, the manager of Elektrilevi's smart metering program, in a statement. "The change from manual meter reading to automated remote meter reading will ensure timelier and more accurate billing of customers for their actual energy consumption and we will get more precise information from the electricity network and can take faster action in case of power interruptions and fraud."
Eletrilevi has already installed 5,700 smart meters during a pilot project this year and will roll out the rest of the 630,000 smart meters between 2013 and 2016. After that, Ericsson will provide maintenance for three years and Elektrilevi will have the option of extending the maintenance contract until 2025.
"This project allows Elektrilevi and Estonia to take a significant step in the development of the networked society, where people, business and society will benefit from devices that are connected in real-time," says Paolo Colella, the head of consulting and systems integration at Ericsson. "This advanced ICT solution will support business development for Elektrilevi, and the increased information and control of electricity usage will bring tremendous value to their customers."