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TrustPower Takes Close Look At Metering Options

TrustPower Takes Close Look At Metering Options

Listed electricity retailer/generator and telco provider TrustPower has gone to the market with a smart meter Request for Information (RFI).

The purpose of the RFI is to seek information from the market around:

• the smart metering technologies and capabilities currently available in the NZ market (TrustPower believes there has been a recent decrease in technology costs);
• potential business models that could be pursued (i.e. could TrustPower buy and operate the meters itself or take a service, or a mixture of the two);
• what propositions could be offered to TrustPower’s retail customers through the use of smart metering

The RFI requests proposals with respect to TrustPower’s retail customer base only (206K ICPs).

TrustPower will use the RFI process to determine whether or not there is a business case/proposition to transition some (or all) of its retail customers on to advanced metering. If the process shows that a business case does exist, TrustPower would then look to undertake a pilot/proof of concept towards the end of 2013 calendar year.

Simon Clarke, TrustPower’s General Manager Business Solutions and Technology, says TrustPower has not made any decision to transition its customer base to smart metering. The RFI process is simply designed to discover if or where a value proposition exists.

“We are issuing the RFI to a selected bunch on industry players to see what options are available, because we think there has recently been a significant move downwards in technology costs which may make the business case more attractive. We also think the advanced meter market has begun to mature, and we are keen to understand what business model options may be available to us.”

Mr Clarke said that TrustPower’s existing in-house metering model, where the company owned its own meters and employed its own readers (rather than contracting the service out), made it more difficult for the company to demonstrate a good business case.

“There are two reasons for this. One is the fact that our meter asset and reading team has done such an excellent and efficient job, delivering a quality asset and the standard of service we want and our customers expect. The other is our customers, because to date, we have not been able to identify any real benefits from advanced metering for the people we sell power to. If that has changed, we will make a move towards smart metering.”

TrustPower’s RFI closes at the end of February.

ENDS

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