Data changes the playing field
With hourly values from the first 900,000 meters already coming in, Radius is beginning to focus on utilising all the data they receive. “The large quantities of data give us a better understanding of the load in our low-voltage grid and enable us to better identify theft, handle faults and guide our customers in case of outages so we can troubleshoot faster,” says Steen Hansen.
Another very tangible advantage with the new meters is that they include a circuit breaker allowing Radius to remotely disconnect and reconnect customers. “Not having to send an employee out to the customer is the big business case for us. Today, we do between 200 and 250 disconnections a month and the same number of reconnections, so that brings significant savings – not to mention the ability to react quickly when we are given this task.”
More intelligent grid planning through digitalisation and improved grid insights is also something Radius is looking into in what Steen Hansen calls “the new world”. “If, for example, there is a boom in electric cars, we can use our data to quickly analyse where to take action first, identify unknown bottlenecks and possibly distribute load. That way we can focus our efforts and stage our investments in expanding the grid.”
More data also leads to new opportunities for consumer-oriented initiatives, which is an area that is expected to develop a lot in the coming years. “Time-of-use tariffs will allow us to shift some of the consumption to off-peak hours and consequently balance the load on the grid. This is one of the things we’re looking at now on the basis of the many opportunities and large quantities of data we get with the new meters.”
And if consumers are sufficiently incentivised to even out their consumption, it will generate substantial benefits for Radius as a distribution company. “We may be able to avoid having to increase the capacity in the grid or at least postpone some investments. This changes the playing field entirely and holds great potential for optimisation.”