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Back in September, metering specialists Elster announced a contract win to supply 33,000 of its V100 volumetric water meters to Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA).
The meters – which Elster says are the most popular around the world – are part of Sharjah’s metering roll-out scheme that saw a previous order for 30,000 units in November of last year.
Elster, headquartered in Germany, is one of the largest metering firms in the world, and is offering a considerable range of metering products to meet the growing regional interest in smarter metering systems.
“We offer interoperable gas, water and electricity meters, as well as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solutions to the Middle East. We also offer platforms that are tailored to the region’s market – for example, we’ve developed a water meter that doesn’t have any moving parts, which is essential for such a sandy topography.
"The Middle East market favours electricity and water dual meters, which is different to other markets – such as the UK – which favours gas and electric meters. Our solutions can also cater for a range of communication technologies, whether that’s Power Line Communications or Radio Frequency,” explains the firm’s regional director for MENA, Ali Mouslmani.
In addition to the Sharjah metering programme, the firm is also applying its expertise through work with a number of other big customers in the region.
“We are working with the Saudi National Grid as consultants for their smart grid and smart meter programme, which involves ensuring the organisation can analyse and forecast the network’s health.
"We are also delivering AMI to significant projects underway with FEWA, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). Elster is also well positioned for immediate engagement with the region’s utilities in the deployment of gas infrastructure and measurement solutions.”
With demand rising across the Middle East, Elster has found that a consideration of customer engagement has started to drive utilities’ thinking.
“We’re seeing much greater demand for end-to-end solutions. Utilities are now looking for a company that can provide not just the product, but the services too.
"We’ve also noticed, much like the rest of the world, that consumer engagement is a key issue – so utilities are looking for solutions that engage the consumer, such as interactive hand-held displays that show energy usage,” he says.
Mouslmani says that one of the firm’s key focuses over the next year is to ensure that the region’s utilities are aware of the security implications involved with smart grid initiatives.
“Our objective is to concentrate on developing awareness of the utilities in the UAE and the region on the subject of data security and privacy standards for smart metering and smart grid systems.
"This is something we’ve done in other territories such as Europe where we take an active role in progressing standards and compliance through industry groups such as the European Smart Metering Industry Group (ESMIG),” he concludes.