Greenhill believes that ALT-X is very much suited to mining and exploration. “South African and African resource-based companies source their labour, technology and of course the resource itself in this region; there is no reason they should need to use entirely foreign capital. South Africa does have an investment environment where one is able to raise capital for listings and the ALT-X listing requirements are appropriate for start up exploration projects, late stage exploration or junior mining projects.”
PRI, an expert in intelligent metering solutions, is currently implementing an aggressive business growth strategy, which has resulted in the opening of new offices in Australia and the Middle East.
In Australia the office is headed up by Michael Guy, who has over 20 years’ experience in the metering industry. Michael is supported by Neil Ray and Richard Metherell; the team is already developing opportunities in the South Pacific from their new office in Melbourne. The Middle East office is based in Dubai and is headed up by Rajneesh Kher, who has several years of metering experience in the region.
PRI has an expanding installed base of Liberty smart metering that spans the globe. Applications details are given here of installations in New Zealand and Northern Ireland.
In order to meet the application needs for electrical energy metering, customer service management, trade settlement, power supply contracts, tariffs and so on, several standards have been developed and are in force in China. These application needs cover all the commercial business processes of the utility, starting with metering and ending with billing, and include system integration, demand for energy metering management and power generation, transportation and distribution in China’s power market.
The utility business community is facing major challenges associated with liberalisation of the market, unbundling, deregulation, organisation transformation, and establishing a sustainable business environment. In this transition process, utilities aim to provide a high quality of water and electricity supply to the customer cost-effectively.
Automation and information technology have developed rapidly in recent years, and have been implemented in utility business systems – planning, operation, maintenance, customer services and others. The advanced information systems were able to provide a breakthrough in transforming utilities from the classical electromechanical concept to the digital world. However, there is still a considerable gap in mirroring the correlation between overall water and energy flows (the product) with the financial flow (the money) to reach a sustainable and competitive business environment.
This paper addresses metering as a key factor in building a digital platform for utilities dealing mainly with water and electricity supply. It describes the digital transformation process, with metering at the heart of the transformation. Meters are not just the node of exchange where the product is converted to currency, but the ‘eyes and hands’ to link the product flow with the monetary transactions in all nodes of the system. Fast track implementation of large-scale enterprise metering systems will be the major challenge that utilities will face, both to keep a proper correlation between the product delivery and the financial balance, and to benchmark the performance of all units participating in the business process.
The New Zealand electricity industry is currently being plagued with a range of issues, such as recurring low hydro inflows, dwindling gas reserves, transmission constraints and limited ability to invest in distribution. On a more global scale, it is becoming apparent (at least from where we sit at the bottom right hand corner of the world) that the electricity industry in most countries needs a bit more central co-ordination than the market structures and mechanisms based on financial markets and products appear able to give.
While co-operation among three regulatory agencies anywhere is by itself remarkable, consider the fact that the California Energy Commission (CEC), Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Power Authority (CPA) unanimously agreed on a far-reaching two-part vision (below) to establish a more secure, efficient and customer-oriented energy future.
CARIFORNIA ENERGY VISION
|Part 1||Advanced interval capable meters with communication links will be installed for all customers.|
|Part 2||Critical peak pricing will become the default tariff for all customers. Customers will have the option to 'opt out' to real-time pricing or risk-adjusted time-of-use, tiered, or other rate forms.|
The California vision is unique because it focuses on customer-oriented or demand-side solutions. The vision seeks to establish a technology and pricing policy foundation that links customer rates with the market price for energy. More specifically, it seeks to provide customers with information and real capability to better manage their energy bills. It will also provide the state with the capability to better manage system reliability and resource planning.
The regulatory proceeding underlying this vision is moving along on two separate paths that correspond with the two-part vision statement. Preliminary results from a $10 million statistically designed state-wide pricing pilot implemented last spring by Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric are already demonstrating customer demand and energy impacts that substantially exceed most observer expectations.
Last November, the CPUC began a proceeding to formally establish the business case for advanced metering. The scope for this proceeding was established after extensive review of technology, public policy and other utility business case practices. As a result, the first objective of this proceeding is to establish a new business case template that addresses the many conceptual weaknesses in historical practice. Examples that illustrate this expanded perspective include:
Two years ago, the words ‘demand response’ might have provoked a quizzical look on the face of even a wizened energy expert if asked what he thought about the topic. But during those two years, demand response has increasingly come to be an expression on the lips of many policy makers, energy providers, energy technology companies and energy practitioners. And the result of this has been more than lip service. Demand response is indeed on the rise when it comes to new energy policies, and new energy programmes and products.
Liberalisation of energy markets has led to tremendous growth in message exchange between existing and new market players – system and network operators, data collectors and so on. The increase in the number of consumer groups that have free choice of supplier has meant an increase in the number of market players, in the different types of message, and in the number of messages exchanged. This trend imposes heavy requirements on functionality, performance and security of the communication networks used.
The business case for AMR (automated meter reading) is solid. Though expensive to install, AMR systems lower utilities’ operational costs and have the potential to lower prices for end customers. Although AMR has been around for a decade, only 14% of the meters in the US can be read automatically. The other 86% are still read by meter readers, with ongoing personnel and operational costs to match, according to Garrett Johnston, managing editor of Chartwell.