Cable&Wireless, CURRENT Group partner for smart metering in UK

Partnership will see the integration of C&W Worldwide's secure next-generation network with CURRENT'

Cable&Wireless Worldwide and CURRENT Group are partnering to develop integrated smart grid and smart metering offerings to help utility companies achieve the goals of the UK Government's Low Carbon Economy and National Smart Metering programme.

The partnership will see the integration of C&W Worldwide's secure next-generation network and ability to address complex communications requirements with CURRENT's smart grid sensors, smart meter data collectors and analytic software.

Both the companies said that the result will be an end-to-end, standards-based, interoperable smart grid offering that will improve the efficiency and reliability of the UK electric grid while reducing the environmental impact of electric usage.

Taking advantage of the open and interoperable "PRIME" metering standard that uses existing electrical wires, the new offering will communicate with smart meters via power line carrier communication technology.

PRIME, which is being adopted by a number of European utilities, enables utility companies to save on the cost of communicating to individual meters and provides them with additional smart grid capabilities that are not available with wireless meter technologies.

C&W Worldwide strategic business development director Amy Cooke said there will be many ways of connecting smart meters to the grid - each with separate technology and cost profiles, suitable for different population densities, and various geographies that will ultimately enable better management and control over the UK's electricity.

"By working with CURRENT we will be able to add power line carrier capability to our solution, offering a robust answer for smart metering communications particularly in high density urban environments where there is a proliferation of flats or where smart meters are hard to reach with wireless technologies," Cooke added.

CURRENT Group chief executive officer Tom Casey said they have combined PRIME metering and their grid sensing solution with secure communications from C&W Worldwide into one low cost solution.

"This will allow the UK to leverage its metering investment to build a smart grid and thus achieve its carbon goals faster and at a lower cost. In addition, PRIME metering will provide a low cost metering solution to households in the UK who may otherwise not get access to a smart meter," Casey said.