swiss energy

Perspectives

Take advantage of your smart meter data

Hot topics for Swiss energy in 2018

Smart Meters

The energy market in Switzerland is changing. One key ingredient in this transformation is the rollout of smart meters, which provide a new level of detailed information about consumer patterns and performance of the low voltage grid. Recent legislative changes accentuate the need to look at the opportunities and challenges smart metering will pose to Swiss utilities.

Legislative changes

The update of the Swiss energy law (Energiegesetz vom 30. September 2016) came into force at the beginning of 2018. The major changes with a big impact on smart meters and the distribution grid are:

  • an increase of the grid surcharge in order to further support the energy revolution by expanding the distributed energy generation;
  • a requirement that 80 per cent of all measuring devices in the electrical grid have to be exchanged with smart meters until end of 2027;
  • smart control and feedback control systems can only be installed or used (for already installed devices) with the approval of the customer except whenever it is necessary in order to guarantee a stable grid operation; and
  • the right of private consumption communities with (i) a minimum consumption of 100 MWh/annum; (ii) only one connection point to the distribution grid and (iii) an installed solar capacity of at least 10 per cent of the installed grid connection capacity to choose the electricity supplier.

Opportunities

Identification of bottlenecks, an efficient target grid planning and tailor-made predictive asset management

Aside from a transition away from nuclear power, the energy revolution in Switzerland also includes concepts such as (i) increased decentralised energy production and storage (ii) the integration of electric vehicle charging; and (iii) increased usage of connected / intelligent devices. The combined result of these concepts will be higher utilisation and stress on the national electricity grid, notably at the low voltage level (e.g. grid level 7).

Solving stress on grid level 5 to 7 would be simple if grid owners had limitless budgets: building a high voltage cable to every household would easily allow the grid to handle the additional stress of more decentral energy production, storage and electric vehicles. But is there a country which can afford a high voltage cable to every household? No.

In reality, budget constraints will force grid owners to make the most out of the current grid levels 5 to 7 by targeting grid upgrades on current and predicted bottlenecks; and being more efficient in grid asset investment by using more advanced predictive asset management. Doing this will need more energy usage data (i.e. smart meter data) and better analysis of this data.

Depending on the transmitting frequency and the resolution of smart meter data, several applications exist including:

  • high resolution data with a low transmitting frequency can be used to group customers (prosumers) and perform power flow calculations in order to identify existing bottlenecks or for an efficient target grid planning; and
  • high resolution data with an online transfer provides a basis for efficient peak load shifting and the successful integration of connected devices, electric vehicle charging and storage devices (batteries, power2gas, photovoltaic panels, etc.).

In our view, the intelligent analysis of smart meter data will be essential to enable the energy revolution to continue whilst ensuring reliability of electricity supply and acceptable grid costs.

New tariff models

The modification in the energy law in relation to private energy consumption communities promises an increasing amount of customers i.e. who can choose their own supplier – and for which electricity distributors should find new tariff models.

Smart meter data can be used to help energy distributors to better determine pricing levels for energy consumption communities and also package energy services for the creation of such communities.

We expect the full liberalisation of the Swiss electricity market with freedom to choose supplier being extended to all consumers in the next five years. Latest at this point will energy distributors need to be able to offer attractive pricing models to win new customers – pricing models which will be supported by analysis of smart meter data. Proactive energy distributors will use the opportunity presented by the private energy consumption community to test and develop their smart meter analytics and pricing models in time for the full liberalisation.

Challenges

There are obstacles to implementing these opportunities which have to be considered:

  • smart meters generate a large amount of data from the distribution grid, and it is a technical challenge to collect, process and make sense of this information;
  • smart meters can gather data which is subject to data privacy regulations meaning that appropriate use and access management should be enforced; and
  • the time line and conditions of a Swiss market liberalization is unclear, making a road map to implementing new tariff models for retail customer supported by smart meter data a challenge.

How Deloitte can help

Deloitte can help with planning, implementation and rollout of new solutions driven by data from your smart meters and sensors. In particular, we can:

  • determine the data requirements to drive these improvements, e.g., information required, data quality and optimal IoT (Internet of Things) sampling periods;
  • design a cost effective, secure and resilient solution architecture – cloud or on premise – which can deliver the planned improvements; and
  • implement this architecture as an end-to-end solution prototype, which can run in parallel to your existing system and eventually replace it after thorough validation and acceptance testing.

Contacts

Chris Tattersall - Lead Partner, Energy & Resources

Chris Tattersall leads the Energy & Resources sector at Deloitte in Switzerland. He has over 17 years of transaction advisory experience, mainly working for clients in the commodity trading and electricity industry, and five years of international audit experience. Chris is a Swiss/UK national and a qualified chartered accountant.

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