Simple RF-based Solution copes with complex Multi-Utility Smart Metering Challenge

A simple, scalable smart metering system with an innovative MUC-solution handles electricity, water and heating energy for the Danish Multi-Utility company Vestforsyning. The MUC (Multi-Utility Communicator) forms part of a radio mesh network that presents a very convincing answer to a very complicated multi-utility picture.

Vestforsyning, a large multi-utility supplier headquartered in Holstebro, Denmark, is investing in 41,000 smart meters and a smart metering system for electricity, heat and water. Kamstrup has been chosen as full-line supplier.

One Technology for Everything
Vestforsyning has a complex supply area where not all customers get their electricity from Vestforsyning, but some just heating energy or heat and water. This heterogeneous geography presents a challenge to the metering system’s architecture. Kamstrup’s RF-based solution was chosen because of its capability and yet simple structure.

The system communication is by default organized around the innovative MUC-device integrated in the smart meter from where it receives Wireless M-Bus signals from heat and water meters in the household.

As certain supply areas, though, are not being supplied with electricity from Vestforsyning, but only with water and heating energy, the solution with an integrated MUC in the smart meter is clearly impracticable in these specific areas. But Kamstrup’s smart metering solution, being a standardized RF-system for all supply forms, perfectly meets the challenge of variety: be it electricity, heating energy or water, it takes only one technology to cope with the communication. Several radio mesh networks are simply clustered into the same smart metering system using integrated or stand-alone MUC’s.

Customer Department Manager at Vestforsyning, Kenneth Tønning says: “It is absolutely crucial for our situation that the offered solution is independent of the electricity meter in order to deliver data from heat and water meters – and yet capable of integrating with electricity metering systems. With the chosen technology we don’t need any creative solutions for our special areas. We have one and the same system to solve everything. That kind of flexibility is extremely important for us.”

The radio mesh network solution furthermore requires a minimum of concentrators for data collection resulting in reduced data transmission costs. When everything is accounted for, the cost per metering point can be kept at a minimum.

Improving Customer Services
Vestforsyning especially looks forward to the customer web portal supported by the new system that will elevate the supply company into a strongly modernized customer service era. Not only will customers be able to log on to view their consumption data converted into financial terms from kWh, but they will also receive monthly reports by email or even alarms by SMS. The web portal will be supplemented by a smart phone app.

“In order to provide this service where we actually push information to our, hopefully more energy savvy, customers, we needed a metering system that would interface with our other data systems,” says Kenneth Tønning and continues: “We value customer satisfaction very highly and therefore consider energy consulting an important branch of our business.”

In line with the customer centered ideology all heat meters are provided with leak surveillance.

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