Smart grid technology lets customers track energy, water consumption

RP news wires

The 33,000 citizens of Erding, Germany, will benefit from the environmental advantages of GE smart grid technologies in a major step toward managing energy and water consumption. Stadtwerke Erding, the city’s public works department, is implementing a groundbreaking pilot installation that will consolidate and report data to homeowners on energy and utility usage, including electricity, gas, water and heating.

Public works departments like those in Erding are part of a trend in Germany to re-communalize key town infrastructure. Towns are taking a financial stake in multi-fuel utilities, water, district heating, transport and communications. These municipalities provide ideal environments to showcase technologies available today that can increase efficiency and have a positive environmental impact.

“We are developing a complete picture of our energy and resource usage to help us become more efficient providers and consumers of energy,” said Walter Huber, general manager of Stadtwerke Erding. “What we are learning will help us formulate practical, effective and timely programs to reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing lifestyle.”

The smart meters are connected to a central office for analysis and planning via a data concentrator, providing data to optimize usage efficiency and minimizing waste. Benchmarking data from last year will contribute to emissions and efficiency programs in 2010 and beyond.

“The municipality of Erding is making history by applying the benefits of smart grid technologies across all of the utilities in a home, maximizing the ways we can understand and lessen their effect on our planet,” said Keith Redfearn, general manager of transmission and distribution in Europe for GE Energy Services.

By consolidating infrastructure, the program also delivers operational advantages, reducing up-front costs and allowing other communications-dependent functions like security, health, safety and assisted living monitoring to be added as the city develops those solutions.

“Instead of being smarter simply with electricity, Erding officials are leveraging GE solutions to help them make decisions based on the complete picture of utility consumption and carbon consequences,” said Redfearn.

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