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Smart tech can slash utility bills

Smart metering could even reduce need to expand generation capacity

Simple changes in customer behaviour could reduce power demand considerably.
Simple changes in customer behaviour could reduce power demand considerably.

The acceleration of ‘smart’ metering and grid technologies can help GCC utilities and governments avoid potential investments of around US $5-10 billion into peak load capacities up until 2020, according to AT Kearney Middle East principal Christian von Tschirschky.

In addition, the peak-load demand can be slashed by 10-20% through effective customer behaviour changes, along with smart metering implementation and remote control of air-con systems.

“Smart meters are the technology of the future to measure real-time electricity, which enables consumers to control and monitor their electricity consumption via the internet or home displays for the first time,” said von Tschirschky.

Pilot studies have shown that ‘consumption aware’ and ‘informed customers’ reduce their consumption by around 10%.

“We anticipate this effect will be even higher if the current highly-subsidised energy prices increase,” warned Von Tschirschky.

AT Kearney also foresees that the need to integrate renewable energy sources with fluctuating load levels such as solar, wind and others into the energy grid will drive the need for an overall ‘smart grid’ that combines consumption data collected by smart meters with generation data.

“In the Middle East, we are seeing the first regional directives focusing on improving energy efficiency, something that cannot be achieved without smart metering. The UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries are currently piloting smart technologies, and are expected to adopt these approaches quickly.

“The investments in smart metering will pay off, considering the cost reduction in operations and the reduced investment demand for additional power plants. It is an efficient way of managing and securing electricity supply, as well as the future contributions from alternative energy,” said Tschirschky.

Tarek El-Far, MD of ista Middle East FZE, a global leader in energy and water consumption based billing, points out that the so-called ‘smart revolution’ is also opening up the arena for sub-metering.

“Metering is from the utility or district cooling plants to the building; sub-metering is inside the building. Consumption-based billing means paying only for individual consumption, based on accurate sub-meter reading. Sub-metering provides credits for ‘green’ building ratings, which is why it is becoming mandatory.”

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