With a focus on meeting customers’ needs, we are constantly seeking new opportunities to expand our expertise in existing and emerging markets.
Interview with Sjane- Marie Koppers, Stedin and Franke Gosliga, Liander.
One of our most successful projects to date was in the Netherlands. Iskraemeco and four Dutch utilities – Liander, Stedin, Enduris and Juva – concluded a deal for the delivery of 1.6 million AM550 smart meters by 2020, with the possibility to expand the quantities to up to 2.5 million during the SMR5 project, if the need arises. We are proud to have such great collaboration with a customer with whom we can put ideas into action and together achieve sustainable business growth. We conducted an interview with Sjane- Marie Koppers, Stedin and Franke Gosliga, Liander.
What do you think were the most essential advantages of beginning collaboration with Iskraemeco?
The outcome of the tender process resulted in Iskraemeco ranking the highest, so high expectations were set from the very outset of our collaboration. From our perspective, over time Iskraemeco has made a good start by supporting joint development and testing with in-house people. From a technical perspective, Iskraemeco has proven to have the right ideas and technical capabilities. Furthermore, Iskraemeco’s AM550 platform matched our requirements in terms of modular thinking, instalment and support of multiple communication options.
How would you describe our relationship?
Over 80 percent of all households in the Netherlands currently have a smart meter installed. This is a fantastic result for all the parties involved. Iskraemeco has contributed to this result by supplying a substantial number of meters. Over the years, we have had to overcome many hurdles, but overall the relationship we have is strong enough to overcome them and it has transformed into a partnership that is future-proof.
What do you like about Iskraemeco?
Apart from its technical capabilities, we have noticed that Iskraemeco takes customer feedback seriously and uses the feedback it receives to improve the organization. As customers, we really value this pro-active and positive attitude and energy. Iskraemeco focuses on the longer-term relationship and is straightforward in its communication.
What values or beliefs would you say our companies have in common?
- Straight forward attitude,
- Customer focus,
- Strong belief in co-operation.
What impact is the project still making on the energy supply system in the Netherlands?
At the beginning of the smart meter development and roll-out, smart meters were seen as enablers for consumers to manage their energy, i.e. to save and manage their energy consumption. Due to the energy transition, smart meters have now also become an important feature of our network that allows us, as a system operator, to be able to maintain the network. A new phase will begin next year following completion of the large roll-out (GSA).
How important are sustainable and circular economy practices in our industry?
The Fair Meter project began as an initiative of the Dutch network companies Liander and Stedin, in collaboration with meter suppliers. The aim of the project was to build a new generation of smart meters in a sustainable, responsible manner: a fair meter. Inspired by the Dutch company Fairphone, we have defined the concept ‘Fair’ and asked for it in the tender for the new meters. A better world starts with better demand!
What do you think is the most important change going on in our industry?
As mentioned earlier, the energy transition requires grid operators to adopt a more data-driven approach to managing their grids. More digitization of grids is essential in managing and maintaining the network. Grid operators become ‘system operators’. As part of this development, smart meter data will be integrated in all grid operator processes.
How will our business change in the next 75 years?
We have just finished a future vision process (2050) as joint grid operators regarding smart metering in the Netherlands, which made it very clear that there is no such a thing as a clear future in the energy business. The scenarios for the energy future from our perspective differ in supply (energy-abundance to scarcity) and market situation (central and regulated to decentralized and liberalized). Uncertainty about which scenario will materialize requires agility, collaboration and continuous learning.
A few thoughts to end…
We look forward to cooperating with Iskraemeco in facing new challenges in the smart meter domain in this rapidly changing energy supply system.