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WEL Networks to Deploy 25,000 Smart Meters in Far North

5 August 2013

WEL Networks to Deploy 25,000 Smart Meters in Far North

WEL Networks (WEL) today announced that it has signed an agreement with Top Energy and SmartCo to extend its Smart Network to their electricity distribution network in New Zealand’s upper North Island.

WEL, a member of SmartCo¹, will deploy a SilverSpring RF mesh smart network on Top Energy’s 4,500km network. The deployment will include the installation of 25,500 Smart Meters in the homes and businesses of Top Energy customers.

RF mesh is a framework of multiple radio links between devices on which Smart Meters communicate.

The meters will be owned by WEL, replacing meters currently owned by Contact Energy. Top Energy will be subcontracted by WEL to install the RF communication mesh and SmartCo will process the data for Retailer revenue billing and Network management purposes.

The Top Energy Smart Network, along with WEL’s, will be one of the few Smart Networks in New Zealand to offer two-way real time monitoring and management along with advanced meter reading for automated billing.

WEL Chief Executive Dr Julian Elder says that in 2009 WEL made an early move to invest in a Smart Network to deliver more efficient electricity distribution in the Waikato region.

“Our $32 million investment in our Smart Network is one of our largest ever roll-outs, today it enables us to monitor the network in real-time, allowing our controllers to identify faults in an instant from our control room and get the power back on faster.

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“In time, our Smart Network could potentially give customers the option to monitor their usage in real-time so they can consume energy more efficiently.

“This off-network investment will allow us to deliver the benefits of the Smart Network to Top Energy’s customers and provide a new revenue stream for WEL,” says Dr Elder.

Top Energy Chief Executive Russell Shaw says the partnership with WEL came about because of the similarities in culture between the companies and the Smart Network expertise WEL brings to the table.

“We see this partnership as a great opportunity to work with WEL, who like Top Energy, is a community owned organisation committed to keeping the lights on 24/7 and investing in our network to deliver better value to our customers,” says Mr Shaw.

“As part of the partnership Top Energy will roll out the RF Mesh for WEL Networks. This will allow us to keep jobs in the region, while drawing on WEL’s expertise in this arena.”

¹A consortium of electricity lines companies that serve more than 250,000 urban and rural customers across New Zealand (Alpine Energy, Counties Power, Electricity Invercargill, Network Tasman, The Power Company and WEL Networks).

- ENDS -

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