Distribution system operator Elektrodistribucija Srbije (EDS) will soon launch a public call for the consultant for the procurement of smart meters.
In mid-September, Elektrodistribucija Srbije signed a loan agreement for the smart metering rollout with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The entire project in Serbia is valued at EUR 80 million, and the contract with the EBRD covers the first phase – the procurement and installation of software and the new system, and the replacement of about 205,000 smart meters in the cities of Kraljevo, Čačak, and Niš. The investment in the first phase is estimated at EUR 40 million.
The new meters will help reduce grid losses, prevent unauthorized electricity consumption or theft, and enable remote measurement of consumption. Also, it will be possible to remotely disconnect consumers from the network, connect prosumers, and monitor consumption in real time.
EDS expects to start the installation of smart meters at this time next year
Saša Stefanović, business system director at EDS, said the Serbian state-owned company is at the very beginning of a smart metering project and that signing the loan agreement with the EBRD was the first step, RTS reported.
Preconditions have been created for the preparation of technical documentation and for launching public calls, first for consultant services, and then for the supply of equipment, he underlined.
The preparations will take place in the next six to nine months, Stefanović said and added he expects that at this time next year, EDS would have a commercial contract signed and start the rollout of smart meters.
Software and hardware will be procured to upgrade already installed smart meters
He stressed EDS invests around EUR 5 million every year in the purchase of smart meters. As a distribution system operator, the company has an obligation to replace old meters and install new ones so that it measures consumed electricity with precision.
EDS has been installing smart meters for many years, and now it intends to upgrade them with modern software and hardware to automatically collect data and process them, Stefanović underlined.
Losses amount to EUR 200 million a year
In 2019 EDS generated grid losses of 11 percent, equivalent to EUR 200 million, while in Europe the average is four percent.
According to Stefanović, the new system will enable EDS to remotely monitor all measuring points.
The company will be able to monitor all elements, such as voltage, electricity and capacity, and it will be able to receive information from the metering point if someone is trying to make modifications on it in order to steal electricity, Stefanović said.
EDS will also be able to remotely disconnect consumers, he pointed out.
Elena Boskov Kovacs: an important milestone for EDS and Serbia to continue the transition to a modern electricity distribution network
Elena Boskov Kovacs, Managing Director and Co-founder of Blueprint Energy Solutions, said the smart meter project is an important milestone for EDS and Serbia to continue the transition to a modern electricity distribution network and continue to digitalize one of the most important elements of its network – metering infrastructure.
“By 2024, it is expected that almost 77 percent of European consumers will have a smart meter for electricity. The power of using such digital technologies is to improve end-use efficiency and can help EDS with further network management and modernization based on more reliable analysis of the data provided with this project,” said Boskov Kovacs, which is also the co-chair of the body that provides advice to the European Commission on advancing energy transition.
The project will benefit the overall energy system in Serbia
According to Boskov Kovacs, the implementation of the project will also benefit the overall electric power system in Serbia as it will enable delays in investments in energy infrastructure, improve integration of renewables, and enhance energy efficiency and security of supply to consumers.
In order to reap the benefits, however, the rollout of smart metering infrastructure needs to be made with appropriate considerations in terms of functionality and software, and hardware, Boskov Kovacs stressed.