Large-scale partnership

Radius, part of the DONG Energy Group, Denmark

When Radius chose Kamstrup as its partner for a 20-year collaboration to roll out and operate one million remotely-read electricity meters, it was – for both companies – the beginning of a journey into unknown territory. One year into the project, the roll-out is on schedule and a common understanding has been established of what a project of this scale requires.

For Radius, part of the DONG Energy Group, the contract with Kamstrup meant a new way of working with a supplier. 

For one thing, the tender focused on business value rather than technology, and the choice of a turnkey delivery based on a long-term partnership was a departure from the company's time-honoured tradition of doing everything itself.

The Radius project is Kamstrup’s largest assignment so far, and one of the biggest roll-outs in Scandinavia. Manufacturing one million meters is in itself an enormous task, but the demands for everything from logistics and IT systems to security and training of the electricians changing the meters all add to the complexity of the project.

As a result, Kamstrup had to quickly establish a dedicated project organisation to handle the task – a process that can be compared to building a plane in mid-air.

“We told them what we wanted and then it is up to Kamstrup to work out how they are going to deliver. What we have bought is the result.”

- Søren Rønnebech, Project Manager at Radius

From planning to reality

The time since Kamstrup took home the order in the spring of 2015 has been spent on clarifying and defining processes and set-ups, outlining the IT architecture, planning and documentation. The keywords were, and still are, dialogue and preparation.

The first new meter was installed in December 2016 as part of a pilot project including about 16,000 households, which will run until the spring of 2017. 

The main roll-out will begin over the summer, and as of August 1st 2017, it is expected to continue at full speed until late summer 2019. 
During this period, around 150 electricians from two different companies will replace between 1,500 and 2,000 meters in the course of eight-hour days, six days a week – and the whole thing will be coordinated by Kamstrup.

Considerations during the roll-out process range from the overall logistics – including storing a proportion of the meters that have been removed in case of customer complaints – to the risk of being met with closed doors at consumer homes, and practical details like finding a parking space in the centre of Copenhagen.
The switch from manual meter reading once a year to hourly remote readings will also entail huge demands on the IT capacity as Radius goes from one million readings a year to having 24 million readings passing through the system every day. 

So far, the project is going according to plan, and the results from the pilot project are very positive according to Søren Rønnebech, Project Manager at Radius. “Kamstrup is fully aware that due to the size of this project, it calls for an organisation of people who really know how to handle the tasks and the challenges that arise along the way."

New requirements, new solutions

In addition to the organisational development, several new products have been developed to meet Radius’ requirements for their smart grid investment. These include completely new software, a DIN rail meter, and a specially designed training programme for the many electricians – all of which contributes to making the roll-out as efficient as possible and ensuring a high level of service to the consumers. 

“The demands we have made on Kamstrup are quite different from those made by their other customers, and this had led to the development of some very unique software from which both parties will benefit,” says Søren Rønnebech. 

A partnership in development

The DONG Energy Group originates from a group of Danish energy companies all dating back almost a century with a proud tradition of doing everything themselves. Entering into a partnership and a 20-year collaboration was therefore also a completely new venture for them, Søren Rønnebech explains:

“Kamstrup’s approach is different from what we have experienced with other partners, so we really had to reassess our own set-up and not simply regard them as a contractor with limited involvement, who would join us for a period and then leave.” 

“We have found the collaboration to be positive, dynamic and in constant development – and it still is,” he continues.

Safety in the DNA
Personal safety is a central theme with Radius, and throughout the project, Søren Rønnebech has seen how it has been deeply embedded in Kamstrup’s DNA as well. 

Processes have been clearly defined and incidents, observations and near misses are continually documented and reported.

“Kamstrup has visibly and consistently worked at extending the safety culture to their employees and to the electricians and contractors they have hired to work with them. We can clearly see that everyone respects and fully supports this change in personal safety culture.”

A focus on business value

Considering the scope and duration of the project, a turnkey solution was the obvious choice for Radius. While the cost of a one-stop solution may initially be higher than a solution made up of individual deliveries from different suppliers, Radius expects the turnkey solution to deliver greater value, and thus prove to be the best bargain over the lifespan of the project.

Right from the tendering process, the company has focused more on the business value of the solution than on the technology. Instead of trying to specify a system down to the last detail, they defined their business needs including performance guarantee, possibilities for analysis, and integration with the already existing business processes. 

They then left it up to the suppliers to decide how they would deliver this in the most effective way – and this is where Kamstrup won. Another decisive factor for Radius was that they would be able to count on only one supplier to shoulder the responsibility for everything being supplied in the right quality, at the right time – especially because the project also involved replacing the IT system. 

“We told them what we wanted and then it is up to Kamstrup to work out how they are going to deliver. What we have bought is the result,” explains Søren Rønnebech. 
Project facts

  • Radius is part of the DONG Energy Group – Denmark's largest energy company, which supplies a million homes and companies in the Copenhagen Metropolitan area North Zealand and parts of central Zealand 
  • Number of metering points: 1 million
  • Deliverables: Turnkey project based on Kamstrup’s smart grid platform OMNIA. It includes system delivery, project management, support, hosting, data collection, complete meter operation until 2034, and a helpdesk for direct consumer support.
  • On average, 1500-2000 meters will be installed every day
  • The first meter was installed in December 2016
  • The last meter will be installed in September 2019
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