The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) is planning to replace 7.5 million outdated electricity meters with smart meters which would allow remote monitoring of power consumption, CEO Nikos Chatziargyriou said during an interview at European utility week. He said the replacement process would begin in 2018 following a tender.
The project which HEDNO (locally acronym DEDDIE) is planning to implement is part of its efforts to upgrade its distribution network into a “smart system”.
“Smart Meters” are the basic elements required for the development of smart grids, so we consider our Automatic Meter Reading of Low Voltage Consumption project a key activity for our integrated business planning, Chatziargyriou said.
He said HEDNO launched a pilot project to replace 200,000 mechanical meters with smart meters adding that a contractor for that project was selected in a tender. The project is not underway yet because of legal disputes initiated by some of the bidders at the tender, Chatziargyriou said.
He said remote metering systems have been installed for some HEDNO customers who consume about half of the power distributed by that company.
The big challenge, however, is to replace all conventional meters across the country, including the islands some of which have independent power systems and are not interconnected, with smart electronic meters.
Speaking about the benefits of smart metering and remote monitoring of power consumption, Chatziargyriou said one of the main benefits is the fact that consumers gain access to real-time data about electricity consumption, as well as energy savings, lower emissions, a drastic reduction in energy theft and in network operating costs.
Advantages also include improved efficiency and quality of service, a total reorganization of the retail electricity market which would improve competition and new opportunities for energy services companies, he said.
Chatziargyriou said HEDNO plans to become one of the top 10 distribution system operators in Europe in terms of quality of service, low cost, and environmental protection.
HEDNO is also looking into a “smart island” project which would include introducing electricity storage facilities on islands which are not interconnected to cover their needs year round.