Telegestore, Automated Meter Management Project

By smartgrider In Advanced Metering Infrastructure, Case study Posted 2014-07-12


Market structureLiberalized demand market; all customers may choose their supplier. About 17% of household and 36% of non-residential customers have chosen free market retailers. The remaining is served by the universal supply regime. DSOs are responsible for metering activities
Number of retail customers Approx. 37 million
Electricity consumed -2011> 300 TWh
Consumed -201170% in-state, 30% import
Net Peak Demand for Power -201150,000 MW
Net Revenue to Distribution Companies> 8 billion euro
Distribution Network -2011830,696 km of LV lines
379,705 km of MV lines
143 DSOs operate the electricity distribution networks in Italy - 54 DSOs with less than 1000 customers
1 main distribution company: ENEL Distribuzione is the first national DSO, covering the 86% of Italy’s electricity demand
ContactMarco Cotti
Enel Distribuzione SpA


Telegestore, Automated Meter Management Project

In 1999, Enel began developing the Telegestore® Project (Italian Automated Meter Management (AMM) System), a system for low-voltage (LV) concentrators and remote meter management. This was ahead of the mandatory installation programme of electronic meters set by the Italian Regulatory Body in 2006. The Project provided the installation of more than 32 million smart meters. These smart meters allow Enel to periodically collect data on voltage quality and interruptions, daily consumption, active and reactive energy measurements, and to remotely manage contractual activities. Meters are able to transmit data regarding consumption, receive updates of the contractual parameters and remotely manage the supply connectivity.

Today with over 99% of electronic meters already installed in Italy, Enel is well ahead of the timetable fixed by the European Commission, of at least 80% by 2020.

The Telegestore infrastructure is composed of the following main elements, shown graphically in Figure 4:

  • Smart meter units (with integrated metering, data transmission and management equipment)
  • Concentrators, transmitting data to and from the smart meters, installed in the MV/LV substations. The concentrator supports four main applications:
    • Aggregation of data from the meters and subsequent transfer to the AMM Control Centre at regular intervals or as required for specific AMM requests-
    • Performing remote operations on meters upon AMM request (e.g. Deactivation, Tariffs or contractual changes)
    • Alarm signal detection for communication problems, meter tampering, metering failure, and communication of these signals to the AMM Control Centre
    • Remote firmware download for electronic meter and LV-C software upgrade
  • The central system for remote management of meters, processing of billing information as well as quality of service monitoring
  • Telecommunication network (power line carrier (PLC) between the meter and the concentrator, mobile communication between the concentrator and the central systems.

Enel designed the overall system, setting out specifications for the meters and data concentrators and leaving the production of the equipments to contract manufacturers. With this equipment, the Telegestore project enabled the following smart grid functionalities:

  • Improved fault identification and optimal grid reconfiguration after faults
  • Enhanced monitoring and control of power flows and voltages
  • Identification of technical and non technical losses through power flow analysis
  • Additional information on supply quality and consumption to support network investment planning
  • Sufficient frequency of meter readings, measurement granularity for consumption / injection metering data (e.g. interval metering, active and reactive power, etc.)
  • Remote meter management

Figure 4 : The Telegestore Architecture

Objectives & Benefits

The Telegestore project was created with the objectives of enabling greater reliability and power quality for customers, creating more customer choice, offering competitive services and complying with regulation. Customers have benefitted in terms of:

  • Transparency as customers can read their energy consumption, rates, and contract on the meter display
  • Billing based on up-to-date meter readings
  • Flexible rate structures with the possibility of daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal modulation,together with the flexibility of billing periods, depending on the retailer’s offer
  • Remote and fast contract changes (connections, disconnections, rates, voltage, subscription transfers etc.), eliminating the customer inconvenience of on-site visits
  • Elimination of human error in meter readings, reducing complaints and disputes
  • Reduction of power disruption events and repair time


Customer Engagement

The full deployment of a smart metering solution represented a revolution, not only in the technology, but also in the business processes, starting from the relationship with customers. Enel built a communication plan to share with customers the details of the innovation project. The plan included: a brochure and documents sent to customer premises, congresses, promotional billboards, press releases in main national newspapers and dedicated trade papers. The aim was to inform customers about the replacement campaign, and to spread the awareness of the benefits Telegestore would bring, such as improving the quality of service. Moreover many dedicated meetings were organized with all the main Italian customer associations as influencing bodies to be properly informed. Following this plan was critical to completing the roll-out in the scheduled time-frame.


Current Status & Results

With a budget of 2.1 billion euro over a five year period, the project, being completed in 2006, has allowed approximately 500 million euro of yearly savings with reference to field operation, purchasing and logistics, revenue protection and customer service. 95% of this cost was associated with the production and installation of smart meters and LV concentrators. The remaining 5% corresponds to costs associated with IT system development, R&D costs and other expenses.

Figure 5: Cost per customer and quality of service improvements

In 2011 more than 400 million remote readings and more than 9 million remote operations had been performed.

The development of the AMM system within the Telegestore, as well as remote control and automation of more than 100,000 MV/LV substations, the Work Force Management system and the optimization of asset management led to a drastic cost per customer reduction and an improved quality of service.

The first phase of the deployment resulted in a remarkable amount of energy recovered. In 2006, the yearly energy recovered had been 1.5 TWh (around 0.75% of the overall energy distributed in Italy). This is the result of several factors:

  • Replacement of worn-out meters, which no longer worked correctly and measured a lower than actual consumption
  • Correction of database records (i.e. Current transformer rates incorrectly reported)
  • Detection of irregular and tampered installations from fraud and theft
  • Accessibility of meter data and the elimination of consumption estimation

The installation of smart meters in the MV/LV substations has allowed energy balance activities to value energy losses and fraud detection. With the energy balance data from the AMM system, the success rate of the meter verification activity has increased from 5% (before the AMM) to 60%.

Moreover, approximately 30,000 tons of CO2 emissions were estimated to be reduced from remote execution of customer management activities and meter readings in 2010.


Lessons Learned & Best Practices

Customer Service

With quality and reliability of customer service as main objectives for Telegestore, there were two key customer service initiatives that serve as best practices: the provision of a minimum social supply to bad payers and the development of the Enel smart info® device.

The remote curtailment functionality ensures in fact minimum social supply to all for a limited period of time, instead of outright cut-offs. Customers with bad payment history have their available power limited to 10% of their contract value. Remote power restoration is performed soon after payment.

Moreover, Enel Smart meters laid the ground for customers’ involvement in consumption management. Enel developed a device it calls smart info® that communicates with the electronic meter and enables customers to have easy local access to metering data, enabling also advanced customer services and active demand. A number of different devices such as personal computers, entertainment equipment, electrical appliances, mobile devices, and dedicated displays can show customers their energy data in easy to understand visual formats. The Enel smart info® uses a standard and open communication protocol to transmit the metering data to the other devices.


Project Details

  • Smart Meters and Advanced Meter Management System
    • 32 million smart meters deployed
    • System designed and meters specified by Enel
    • 358,000 data concentrators at MV/LV substations
    • Central AMM Control Center for remote management of meters
  • Tariffs
    • Time of Use is mandatory for about 24 million household customers and about 5 million non-residential under the universal supply regime
    • Time of Use or Flat rates are optional for the free market customers (about 8 million)
  • Funding: 100% by Enel (investment recognized within the Regulatory Asset Base since 2003)
  • Project Cost: 2.1 billion euro/ 5 years
  • Project Payback : 5 years, 500 million euro yearly
  • Benefits :30,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions reduced in 2010


System Design

Enel developed its charging infrastructure able to serve both electric vehicle owners, through innovative mobility services, and DSOs who must manage the distribution grid in real time. This result was achieved by exploiting Enel’s experiences in design, development, deployment and management of remote control and network automation and in the Telegestore project, over the last 10 years.

The broad deployment of smart meters opened also a new scenario for the development of a dedicated application to fully exploit the potential of smart meters data for network and business purposes. STAmi (Advanced Metering Interface Fully Integrated with remote control system) provides network operators with a dedicated web interface to collect, on demand and real-time, specific high quality and accurate data stored in smart meters without additional load for the AMM system.

Market Impact

The Enel Smart meter technology has become a de facto standard in Italy: 4 million of smart meters have been sold to other distribution system operators in Italy and additionally over 1 million smart meters to other European utilities. Moreover, thanks to the experience gained in the Telegestore, Enel has designed a new AMM generation system, based on the evolution of the Italian solution. Endesa, the Spanish utility within the Enel Group, is deploying the new field components and AMM system modules in Spain with the commitment to install more than 13 million meters. These projects will allow Enel technology to establish itself as the standard de facto for remote management with over 50 million electronic meters worldwide, the most extensive implementation in the world.

Enel Distribuzione and Endesa Distribucion Electrica created a non-profit association, Meters and More, to make the communication protocol used by their electronic meters open. The members of the association include major electricity distribution companies and other enterprises. The Open Meter project sponsored by the European Union deemed the Meters and More protocol a potential European standard for automated Metering infrastructure and nowadays it is one of the protocols under the standardization process by CENELEC.

The Enel Group’s smart meters have passed all the quality and safety tests provided for by current laws and comply with applicable EU directives. Enel’s smart meter complies with current European standards and is therefore certified MID (D.lgs.n.22 of February 2, 2007). At the international level it has been certified in the Netherlands by the Institute NMI (Nederlands Meetinstituut) in Dordrecht, by two Spanish centres, CEM (Centro Espanol de Metrologia) in Madrid and ITE (Instituto Tecnologico de Energia) in Valencia, and also in Germany, Poland, Sweden, Chile, China and Russia.

The Telegestore project has also developed the local economy. The transparent and indiscriminate provision of relevant data to all the electricity providers has enabled an easier growth of the free-market. In 2011 alone, more than 2.9 million switching operations had been remotely performed.

Cyber Security

Within the Telegestore system the data protection is performed not only by hardware mode inside meters and concentrators but also by means of a dedicated set of software features. To each meter installed at customer premises there is a dedicated security key. They are necessary to access customer data through all possible channels (PLC, optical port). The communication between the concentrator and the central system through the GSM/GPRS network is authenticated. The communication between the meter and the concentrator relies on authentication, with no encryption but as the data on the distribution line carrier cannot be directly related to the client (the association is possible only at the level of the central system) the Telegestore system ensures a fair level of data protection and privacy for each customer.

Next Steps

The design and development of a second generation of smart meters to replace the current smart meters at their end of life (expected lifetime 15 years) is underway. This includes a proposal to exploit potential synergies between electricity metering and other utilities metering systems, which could include gas and water. Drawing on the experience from the deployment carried out in Italy in the electricity sector and levering on the existing infrastructure, Enel is framing the basis for smart infrastructural integration between different energy services, representing also a crucial enabler for the massive deployment of gas smart meters set by the Italian Authority by 2018 . Alongside time and operational efficiency, the converging architecture proposed by Enel provides gas distribution system operators with a capillary infrastructure over the territory, guaranteeing a high level of communication and monitoring and assuring security and reliability of the service provision. Multi-utility pilot projects are going to be launched in Italy in late 2013 to validate the technical solutions and provide the Authority with insights and information about the governance models. The technical flexibility of the solution proposed by Enel allows it to fit all of the governance models currently under evaluation by the regulatory body.


Key Regulations, Legislation and Further Resources

Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services (translated in Italy into Legislative Decree 115/08)

Resolution ARG/elt 292/06 on smart meters roll out for LV customers

Directive 96/92/CE on common rules for the internal market in electricity (translated in Italy into Legislative Decree n. 79/99)

Resolution ARG/elt 22/10 on ToU tariff for residential customers under the universal supply regime


Italy’s Smart Grid Policy

The electricity context has been evolving in Italy driven by policy needs and objectives for increased quantity and quality of information about energy supply for service operation, enabled customers with more information and choice over their consumption, and compliance with the regulatory directive of the European Union. EU Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services, was translated in Italy into Legislative Decree 115/08, and addressed enabling consumers to make better informed decisions on individual energy consumption, while ensuring system efficiency and reliability. In 2006 the Regulatory Body (AEEG) set the mandatory installation of electronic meters in Italy, with minimum functional requirements for all the DSOs and LV customers starting from 2008 and reaching 95% of them in 2011. Nevertheless, the Enel’s Telegestore® project, launched in 1999, was a voluntary project, bringing forward the massive smart meters installation programme.

Market deregulation has also provided customers with the ability to choose their own energy provider. The increased competition among energy providers required improvements in the electricity distribution system performance levels for higher reliability and power quality to meet customer demand. This increased customer-centric commercial approach has required differentiated tariffs, value added services and reduced service provisioning time. In 2010 AEEG set the introduction of Time-of-Use tariffs for residential customers under the universal supply regime, which was possible because of the massive installation of electronic meters within the Telegestore® project.

※ Sections of this case were provided by Enel

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