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Smart Utilities Customers to benefit from smarter technology

Smart Utilities Customers to benefit from smarter technology

Australia and New Zealand's top utility professionals will meet in Sydney in November to explore new ways to improve reliability, quality and security of water and electricity supply in a cost-efficient and customer-friendly way. This year's Smart Utilities Australia and New Zealand conference and exhibition will particularly focus on smart metering and smart grids developments and feature real life practical insights based on recent trial results and lessons learnt from the region and abroad.

Smart Utilities Australia and New Zealand programme director, Elly Kreijkes, says utilities are modernising their networks to better serve their customers but that this also brings about challenges in the industry. She explains: "these challenges include trying to ensure that smart grid rollouts benefit the customer rather than adding to the costs. In addition to the cost-benefits analysis, utilities need to look at how to best deal with information flows and privacy. Finally, with growing developments in new technologies utilities are confronted with a lot of choices and need to make justified investment decisions."

Implementing smart grids

According to Elly Kreijkes, the event is taking place as Australia and New Zealand are moving towards implementing smart grids. She continues: "Driven by Australia's new government policies and the world leading Smart Grid/Smart City project in Australia, electric utilities are taking serious action and are implementing the first elements of their smart grids. Based on the outcome of the Victorian smart meter project that has been slightly delayed, utilities are currently reviewing their smart meter plans and are looking for intelligent ways to roll out smart meters. In New Zealand, there are increased initiatives towards the smart grid, illustrated by the recent launch of "SmartCo". Although this is very encouraging there is still a lot of work to do in terms of regulation, standardization and interoperability between devices."

Smart Utilities Australia and New Zealand will give the region's utilities the opportunity to share experiences and lessons learnt and gain insights from global utilities, including the USA and Germany who will present success stories of similar projects. These include: Southern California Gas Company, San Diego Gas and Electric, PUC Texas, California Public Utilities Commission, RWE Germany, Glendale Water and Power and Cucamonga Valley Water District.

Smart Homes & Smart Vehicles "While the global market for home area network (HAN) products and services is estimated to reach $3 billion by 2014, many consumers are unaware of the benefits of smart technologies in the home and only see or fear higher energy bills", says programme director Elly Kreijkes. "We focus on Smart Homes as well and particularly look at the growing number of pilots in the area, winning business models for home energy management, how to integrate the technology with utilities and the use of smart apps and integration of social media to better serve the customer."

There is also an update on Electric Vehicle rollouts, such as the Victoria EV rollout, with key players involved in the developments including Ausgrid, Better Place, Ergon Energy, Origin Energy, SP AusNet and the Department of Transport speaking in this session.

Speaker highlights at Smart Utilities Australia and New Zealand include:

George Maltabarow, Managing Director, Ausgrid, Australia

Ted Howard, Analyst, Emerging Technologies Policy & Planning Division, California Public Utilities Commission, USA

Darron Paulson, Customer Service Officer, Cucamonga Valley Water District, USA

Patrick Hayes, Engineering Director, Glendale Water and Power, USA

Belingda Jones, Manager Retail Operations, Hunter Water Corporation, Australia

Inji Choi, Researcher, Kepco, Korea

Donny Helm, Director Technology Strategy & Architecture, Oncor Electric Delivery, USA

Ari Sargent, CEO, Powershop, Australia

Christine Wright, Senior Market Analyst Competitive Markets Division, Public Utility Commission of Texas, USA

Joerg Lohr, Senior Manager E-Mobility, RWE Effizienz GmbH, Germany

Event dates and location: 8 - 10 November 2011, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Australia Event website:


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