ScottishPower and SmartReach, a collaboration of communication and infrastructure companies, have demonstrated the potential of long-range radio communications for smart meters in Scotland.
Using SmartReach’s long-range radio communications solution, ScottishPower connected over 99% of meters in the trial, with a single installation visit to each home.
SmartReach’s connection rate was achieved before doing any network optimisation to further increase connection rates, and without using any other special communications solutions.
The latest trial specifically targeted ‘hard to reach’ areas, where other communication solutions may struggle to connect up to 20% of meters – an important test given that over five million homes will soon be installed with smart meters in the UK.
For the trial, EDMI smart meters, Arqiva’s existing tower infrastructure, and FlexNet smart metering communications solution from Sensus were used by SmartReach.
SmartReach has also been running trials with other British energy and water utilities to demonstrate the suitability of its long-range radio solution.
Commenting on the latest trial, ScottishPower operations director Andrew Ward said that almost all smart meters could be connected with a single installation visit using SmartReach’s long-range radio communications solution alone.
"If this were rolled out at scale it could provide a more convenient experience for millions of consumers and lower installation costs," Ward noted.
SmartReach programme director Sean Weir said: "This trial with ScottishPower has demonstrated the strengths of SmartReach’s long-range radio solution to reach meters wherever they are, including in locations that other networks find difficult to reach."
Image: Five million homes in the UK will soon be connected with smart meters. Photo: courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.