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Lapland Group

Beyond the Arctic Circle: remote metering in the literal sense of the word

Look at the map of Finland and follow the line of Arctic Circle: the region to the north beyond the line makes around a quarter of Finland’s total area. It’s Lapland, the region with a lot of wilderness, sparse population and long power distribution lines. The power distribution in the area is managed by eight utilities. Today, the energy consumption of the complete northernmost part of Finland, totally of around 90 000 metering points, is measured by Aidon technology.

Background

The eight companies operating in the area, the so-called ‘Lapland Group’ have co-operation in different fields, for example via a jointly owned energy retail company Energiapolar. When the Finnish regulation for the nationwide remote energy metering came into force in 2009, it was practical for the Group to join forces for the AMI procurement, to gain synergies and save resources during the whole project, explains Mikko Kangasniemi, Development manager of Rovakaira, one of the eight utilities.

The selected solution

– Investment costs plus operational costs for a period of 15 years was a major parameter in the Group’s evaluation of the offered solutions. References i.e. proven track record was also one of the decisive criteria, Mikko Kangasniemi says.

The choice was a turn-key smart metering solution offered by TeliaSonera Finland, the nationwide mobile operator. The complete solution consists of TeliaSonera’s meter reading system and Aidon’s Energy Service Devices.

In such a large geographical area, the choice of communication technology is an essential issue. Power line communication was was perceived prone to interferences and was therefore seen risky. The Group had confidence in wireless technology as a robust and flexible communication platform. The communication solution of the Aidon provides flexibility for different locations and types of installations: possibility to have radio based, line-connected and GMS point-to-point connections in the same system is a significant advantage.

Experiences

– I’m very satisfied with the reliability and overall performance of the solution. When we made the decision, Aidon was a young company with ground breaking ideas, such as the possibility to update the meters remotely, or change the communication technology by changing the system module. All this is in use today. To be honest, I’m surprised how well it works, Kangasniemi says.

After completing the roll-out, Rovakaira has taken PGM, Power Grid Management, into use by a remote update to meters. PGM provides detailed information from the metering points and sends alerts to the company’s DMS in case of faults or deviations, such as over or under voltage, missing phase, or neutral wire faults.

– At the time of the purchase our main target was to comply with the regulatory demands for a remote reading system. Now, after two years of full operation, I can say that it is much more than that: AMI is an information management system which gathers data, processes it and delivers it to different stakeholders, Kangasniemi concludes.