A committed project team and a thoroughly planned process resulted in completion ahead of schedule of the rollout of a new meter reading system with 100,000 electricity meters.

Large-scale system integration

The energy company, Kymenlaakson Sähköverkko Oy (KSOY) wanted to switch to remote reading to improve their level of customer service and to streamline the processes of meter reading and billing. Faced with replacing their 100,000 electricity meters with new remotely read meters and implementing a new meter reading system, they chose service company Empower as the primary contractor for the comprehensive project, which involved close to 20 partners and sub-suppliers. 

One of them was Kamstrup who, in addition to supplying 65,000 of the meters, delivered concentrators and VisionAir AMR software, took care of planning and implementing the radio communication network, and provided system support. 

“Kamstrup was chosen due to their technical capabilities and commercially competitive solutions, especially for the end-customer segment with single-family houses in rural areas,” says Juha Kiukas, Project Manager at Empower IM Oy.

Dedicated and specialised resources

With projects this size, the technical side itself is only one part of the process. Due to the scale of the project and the number of people involved, it was critical that agreements were kept to ensure the customer could trust that the project was on time until the very end, that it stayed on budget, and that the end result was satisfactory. 

This increased the importance of choosing suppliers that took on the responsibility for ensuring that everything ran according to plan. Juha Kiukas explains: “As a project manager my expectation was that each key person in the project carried out his or her task with high commitment and expertise so that I could trust that the agreed work was done by the agreed deadline.” 

A dedicated project team from Kamstrup worked closely together with a project team from Empower. The team consisted of a professional project manager as well as specialists in different areas like AMR systems, metering devices, radio network planning and clean-up.

Each team member had their own role, their own responsibilities and area of expertise – a set-up that reduced the risk of errors and delays as well as verified the quality of the work that had been carried out. 

As an example, the large network area was split into smaller areas and the radio network was therefore designed one area at a time (e.g. the locations for the concentrators). 

The subsequent clean-up process with thorough testing after installations secured the high performance of the system. 

According to Juha Kiukas, a professional project team is the key to a successful project: “When the project team is committed, self-oriented, keeps their promises and communicates between the parties involved, there is a good basis for a successful project. With Kamstrup, we were able to achieve the targets”.

"When the project team is committed, self-oriented, keeps their promises and communicates between the parties involved, there is a good basis for a successful project. With Kamstrup, we were able to achieve the targets.”

Juha Kiukas, Project Manager at Empower IM Oy.

Streamlined project model

In addition to the two dedicated project teams, a steering group was formed of business management and project managers from both Empower and Kamstrup. Each of the two companies worked according to their own well-defined project models, which were integrated into the KSOY project. This meant a clear definition, overview, and documentation of the project phases, roles, responsibility, and tasks. 

During the course of the extensive project – with so many stakeholders involved – the project faced various obstacles in different areas. Thanks to the specialised knowledge within the project teams and the close cooperation between them, they were, however, able to work constructively and efficiently in solving them without affecting the overall project schedule. “Each challenge was documented and an action point list was followed closely until it was solved,” explains Juha Kiukas.

Well-implemented project and thoroughly designed network

As a result of the thorough process of planning, execution and testing as well as the smooth and professional cooperation with the Kamstrup project team, the KSOY project was in fact completed ahead of schedule. “The project could be finished earlier than expected and the customer is happy with the results,” says Juha Kiukas. 

Now, in the service operation phase, both Empower and their customer are, therefore, able to reap the benefits and enjoy the results of the well-implemented project. According to Juha Kiukas, the new system operates at a consistently high performance level: 

“Personally, before the project, I was sceptical about the performance of the radio communication, but now, I must say that it performs very reliably.  Because the radio communication network was so thoroughly designed, the system operates at a very high SLA level.”

Thinking about the future today
Today, Kamstrup’s primary role on the KSOY project is that of a support function for system updates or if there are service issues that Empower is unable to solve. 

However, they have also sat down with Empower and KSOY to discuss the system in relation to both future requirements and possibilities to ensure optimal value of the investment. 

These include features and functions in the next generation solutions, LV network management, utilising two-way communication in more efficient ways e.g. for new services, as well as the potential use of Kamstrup data loggers for recording momentary values from the network.

About the project
Customer: Empower IM Oy and KSOY
Metering points: 65,000 electricity meters (VisionAir/382M)
Project delivery: Project management, planning, IT installation, system integration and support, radio network implementation and clean-up.
Project period: June 2010 to August 2014
Meter installation was carried out by an external contractor