Cable&Wireless Worldwide and Current Group partner for smart metering

Cable&Wireless Worldwide and Current Group are partnering to develop integrated smart grid and smart metering solutions to help utility companies achieve the goals of the UK Government’s Low Carbon Economy and National Smart Metering programme.

C&W Worldwide’s unique, secure next generation network and ability to address complex communications requirements will be combined with Current’s industry leading smart grid sensors, smart meter data collectors and analytic software. The result will be an end to end, standards-based, interoperable smart grid solution that will improve the efficiency and reliability of the UK electric grid, while reducing the environmental impact of electric usage.

The solution will take advantage of the open and interoperable Prime metering standard that uses existing electrical wires to communicate with smart meters via power line carrier communication technology. Prime, which is being adopted by a number of European utilities, enables utility companies to save on the cost of communicating to individual meters and provides them with additional smart grid capabilities that are not available with wireless meter technologies.

Amy Cooke, strategic business development director at C&W Worldwide, commented: “There will be many ways of connecting smart meters to the grid, each with separate technology and cost profiles, suitable for different population densities, and various geographies that will ultimately enable better management and control over the UK’s electricity. By working with Current we will be able to add power line carrier capability to our solution, offering a robust answer for smart metering communications particularly in high density urban environments where there is a proliferation of flats or where smart meters are hard to reach with wireless technologies.”

Cooke continued: “The electricity infrastructure we use today was not designed for the mixture of low-carbon solutions that are emerging such as increased grid efficiency, the use of renewable energy sources, electric heat and electric vehicles. In order to manage all these and operate as a single integrated system, the smart grid will need secure two-way communication and sensing solutions that facilitates real time grid information developed through collaborations like this.”

Current group chief executive officer, Tom Casey, commented: “A smart grid provides one of the lowest cost and most effective solutions to low carbon requirements available today. We have combined Prime metering and our grid sensing solution with secure communications from C&W Worldwide into one low cost solution. This will allow the UK to leverage its metering investment to build a smart grid and thus achieve its carbon goals faster and at a lower cost. In addition, Prime metering will provide a low cost metering solution to households in the UK who may otherwise not get access to a smart meter.”