ELO, Echelon to build ‘City of the Future’ smart grid pilot in Brazil

Echelon Corp. is designing a 1,500 unit pilot in Brazil through its partner ELO at Cemig’s City of the Future project in the Sete Lagoas region. Cemig serves more than 7 million customers in 774 municipalities of Brazil.

Echelon is providing smart metering sub-systems to ELO. Cemig’s City of the Future project is designed to assess the capability and benefits of the adoption of a smart grid for future deployment.

Its primary goals are to motivate customer engagement through meter installation, workshops, and monitoring and to validate new services, assess benefits and improve operational efficiency for advanced metering infrastructure and distribution automation.

The Sete Lagoas region includes 95,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers. Sete Lagoas was chosen because it includes a range of old and new infrastructure within high, medium and low voltage, telecommunications systems, offering a heterogeneous network, economic profile and range of applications.

This past August, Brazil’s National Agency of Electrical Energy, ANEEL, announced long awaited regulations regarding the deployment of smart meters throughout Brazil. These new regulations require all new meter installations to be smart meters by early 2014, but they do not require the replacement of existing legacy meters.

While this reduces the overall Brazil market size from previous estimates by about 25 percent to $28 billion per Northeast Research, it clarifies the process and provides a timeline and specifications so that utilities have a path for investment. With non-technical losses in Brazil estimated between 10 percent to 30 percent, smart meter deployments can yield immediate savings and leverage other smart grid applications such as renewables and home energy management.

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