As a leading company, Enel plays a critical role in tackling the energy transition and the impact of widespread digitalisation on people’s lives: this is why the company carried out from 2001 the world's largest smart meter deployment.
Smart Grids contribute to sustainability, by integrating and optimizing distributed generation from renewable sources, as well as facilitating the complete transformation of the energy systems. In a smart, open, continuously evolving electric grid system, customers become leading actors thanks to the use of electronic devices that make consumption transparent, encourage active participation in the evolving energy market, and promote conscious use of energy. In addition, the possibility of small-scale generation and self-consumption are further accelerating the changing role of the relationship between customers and grid operators.
Smart Metering is the main pillar of energy networks digitalisation: Enel has been a pioneer and is the leading Distribution System Operator in Europe operating Smart Meters at a large scale, with 32 million Smart Meters on its network in Italy (7m of second generation, so far) and a complete rollout of 12 million meters in Spain. Also in Romania, almost 0.5 million Smart Meters have already been installed in Enel’s subsidiary and by other distribution network operators in the Country. On a global scale, Enel is deploying Smart Metering projects in Chile, Colombia, Peru and Argentina that will trigger a radical change in the Latin America energy market (more than 350,000 smart meters in the continent).
Enel has demonstrated its leadership position by deploying not only Smart Metering but also automatic and intelligent management of the grid. The latter encompasses the integration of innovative technologies that facilitate remote control and self-healing of the power grid, storage management, operation of the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and the use of real-time communications, cloud-based IT systems as well as big data analytics.
The benefits of Smart Metering affect the customers, the utilities and the entire electric system. Citizens become more conscious of their energy use and consumption, while the electric system evolves towards higher efficiency standards. The benefits of advanced metering vary, but generally, it leads to reduced costs of meter reading, improved customer service and enhanced distribution monitoring and management.
Smart Meters are an interactive grid component that acts as a smart sensor at the grid edge, allowing to manage the quality of service of the network even at low-voltage levels. Thanks to bidirectional communication between the Utilities and the market participants, including the customers, and to the possibility of remote programming, managing tariffs and prepayment, the Smart Meter enables new services to the customer.
Through the introduction of these innovative technologies, Enel has become one of the most efficient utilities worldwide. Through smart grids and technology convergence realized between 2001 and 2015, the overall cost reduction of the distribution system operation in Italy has led to a decrease of 32% of the corresponding part in the tariff, while achieving a significant improvement of the quality of service. Enel is currently deploying the same technologies also in other grids worldwide achieving similar results.
Smart electricity grids are the backbone of Smart Cities, whose challenge is a cost effective and sustainable management of urban needs: energy, gas, water, waste, lighting, safety and transportation. Smart Cities combine environmental protection, energy efficiency and economic sustainability in a single urban model. Enel accomplished a significant Smart City track record in its areas of presence. In all countries where Enel has deployed Smart Meters, the business cases were positive with crucial benefits for all stakeholders, in particular for customers.
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