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Apator Group and Phoenix Systems will deliver Data Concentrator Units with PRIME 1.4 FCC for Energa Operator

In the second half of April, the consortium of companies – Apator Group and Phoenix Systems concluded an agreement with Energa Operator for the sale and delivery of 7000 pieces of data concentrator units with balancing meter functionality (DCU). The devices, which are the foundation of Energa Operator’s Smart Grid, will be delivered to Gdansk, Kalisz, Koszalin, Olsztyn, Plock and Torun. As part of the consortium, Apator SA and Apator Telemetria will be responsible for the production and design of devices, and Phoenix Systems for the delivery of software based on Phoenix-RTOS – an open, scalable operating system for the Internet of Things.

This is another big step in the development of Smart Grid in Poland, particularly relevant in light of the recent amendment of the Polish Energy Law, which provides for the creation of CSIRE – a central information system for the energy market and introduces a schedule for the installation of smart meters.

– The purchase of DCUs is another “milestone” in the implementation of the smart grid by Energa Operator. We are consistently continuing the implementation of end users smart metering installations, which started in 2010, at the same time rolling out necessary technological development in the previously used solutions. This implementation brings numerous benefits for the recipient, the most important of which is the possibility of energy billing based on actual consumption data, the ability to check the amount of energy fed into the grid by prosumers and the creation of an informed electricity consumer. The changes taking place in the Polish law pose new challenges and increasingly stringent requirements to the metrological infrastructure. As a Distribution System Operator, we invest in new technological solutions, such as communication between meters and concentrators in the PRIME 1.4 technology with a frequency of up to 500 kHz. This solution will ensure connectivity with devices currently used in Energa Operator and with future solutions offered on the global market – says Ewa Sikora, director of the Distribution Services Division of Energa Operator. – We are also glad that Polish companies are taking part in our tender procedures for the purchase of intelligent metering infrastructure, stimulating the development of Polish technological know-how and growing the experience of the engineering work force. We count on good cooperation with the contractor responsible for the delivery of the communication devices in this project – data concentrator units with balancing meter functionality.

The new project draws from the synergy of experience of both companies, which are one of few completely Polish entities that have been developing smart grid systems for several years on end. It will combine the know-how of the companies of Apator Group in the field of design and production of smart grid devices with the experience of Phoenix Systems in the field of operating system for IoT devices and development of communication stacks used in smart grids. Phoenix-RTOS is already used in smart gas meters, energy meters and data concentrator units. Apator and Phoenix Systems are currently working on further joint projects, including an innovative smart meter, based on universal and flexible technology, which will enable the use of new functionalities introduced through applications (per analogy with smartphones).

DCU is a combination of a balancing meter with a data concentrator, installed in medium voltage stations in order to support communication with smart meters and to provide measurement information on electricity quality parameters. The installation of devices results from the decision of the CEO of the Energy Regulatory Office – the obtained data is to be used for the purposes of future quality regulation. Thanks to the installation of devices, customers are supplied with power from the monitored medium voltage stations. DCU is an important element of smart grids.

– The Data Concentrator Unit is a key element of the intelligent network, which enables communication between remote reading meters working on the basis of modern PLC technologies – explains Artur Bratkowski, Director of Apparatus and Measurement Systems, Apator SA. This solution plays the role of a “local intelligent supervisor” in metering communication, operating at the level of the Sn/LV substation. It is also an essential element for communication with the rest of the AMI infrastructure (e.g., the HES system) – adds Artur Bratkowski. – Our goal is to offer a comprehensive solution for AMI, and DCU is the next stage of building a comprehensive offer of Apator Group in the field of smart metering.

The DCU will be developed from scratch in Poland based on the proprietary implementation of the PRIME v.1.4 power line communication standard, which will be the first in the world to use all available channels in the FCC band (0 – 0.5 MHz). The use of all channels will allow to obtain higher communication throughput, increase immunity to interference and enable the operation of several concentrators within a single transformer station. The previous generation of DCU used the PRIME v 1.3.6 standard in the CENELEC A band (0 – 100 kHz), and there are over 35,000 of these devices in the Energa Operator network.

The innovative DCU developed jointly with Apator is another important element in the implementation of smart metering in Poland – said Pawel Pisarczyk, CEO of Phoenix Systems. I believe that the use of a wide band, like all PRIME 1.4 communication channels, will allow reading data from energy meters in real time, which is a necessary condition for the development of the energy industry of the future, based on energy communities. I am glad that our Phoenix-RTOS open operating system is more and more frequently chosen as the basis for modern measurement devices, which are already Internet of Things devices.

The new Energy Law provides, inter alia, a schedule for the installation of smart meters by electricity distribution system operators (DSOs). By the end of 2023, at least 15 percent recipients of a given DSO are to be equipped, two years later – 35 percent, at the end of 2027 this ratio is to be at least 65 percent, and by the end of 2028 – at least 80 percent. The data from the meters regarding the obtained and returned energy will be gathered in 15-minute periods. Data regarding power, quality parameters and others will also be collected, which will be accounted for under separate regulations.