Latvia's smart electricity meter roll-out completed: metering of more than 1 million connection points happens remotely

  • 2023-06-01

AS “Sadales tīkls” has finalised the implementation of the smart electricity metering programme, providing more than 1 million customers in Latvia with remote and automated electricity metering, various data services and other benefits for electricity market participants. The introduction of innovative technologies is the basis for the increase of AS “Sadales tīkls” customer satisfaction and digital transformation that leads to operational efficiency. Smart meters lead to electricity market and energy industry development, including distributed generation and the achievement of national energy and carbon neutrality goals. 

During its implementation period the Smart metering programme has already increased the operational efficiency of AS “Sadales tīkls”, while at the same time improving the quality and speed of customer services. Investment paid off already during program implementation and additionally to investments program benefit is EUR 32.8 million during smart meter lifetime and this includes the reduction of FTEs (-500 FTEs); reduced electricity losses (-4.5 TWh; from 4,77% in 2014 to 3.67% in 2022); reduced number of vehicles (-226 cars); etc. The cost to implement one smart meter connection point was EUR 40, and the total programme investments comprised EUR 44.5 million, one of the lowest costs compared with other similar projects in other European countries, therefore making Latvia the leading country in Europe in smart metering implementation from a cost benefit perspective. 

For implementation of the smart electricity metering programme, G3 PLC FCC technology (data transmission using power lines) was mainly employed, therefore effectively using the AS “Sadales tīkls” infrastructure.  Digital solution management and communication technologies make it possible to achieve high data availability and provide Latvian electricity market participants with various advantages in everyday business, by providing data with a minimal time delay.

“The implementation of the electricity smart metering programme is the most ambitious digitalisation project in Latvia in recent years. Targeted investments in the company's digital transformation have led to a significant increase in operational efficiency. Data is the cornerstone for innovation and growth, an important prerequisite for the development of the electricity market. Even after the full implementation of the smart metering programme, AS “Sadales tīkls” continues to develop new services that are important for further development  of the energy industry”, says Baiba Priedīte, Board member, Chief Customer Officer of AS “Sadales tīkls

The data obtained by smart electricity meters is the basis for important innovations. Expanded data services provide new opportunities for company energy management. AS “Sadales tīkls” is offering data services on consumed, generated active and reactive energy with reading frequency for the previous day, twice a day or even for the previous hour. Digital and automated management of the low voltage power grid improves the maintenance of the power grid and the quality of services by speeding up the fixing of electricity interruptions. Advanced big data management and new data analytics tools give the possibility to use AI opportunities and benefits. Currently, pilots are ongoing with other utility meters, to test possibilities to remotely acquire and process gas meter data. Smart meters provide the development of distributed generation, which has been increased significantly in recent years. Open data sets of electricity consumption provide essential information for researchers and energy start-up companies. 

During the programme, new generation meters were installed for 99% of AS “Sadales tīkls” customer connection points. Regarding the remaining ~15 000 customers, AS “Sadales tīkls” will contact them to agree on the most suitable time for changing the meter. AS “Sadales tīkls” customers highly evaluate e-environment services that are based on data availability; 99% of operations are carried out directly in the e-environment. 

Smart electricity meter data is available at any time and free of charge in the AS “Sadales tīkls” customer portal or in the customer portal of the electricity trader; data are available split into months, days, or hours. Data are used by more than 50% of customers, which can help to improve energy efficiency by ~20%. Free-of-charge data promotes the customer to analyse consumption patterns and become more energy efficient, raises interest about energy market developments, and increases the society's energy literacy.