The Role of Smart Meter Installation in Utilities

A Smart Meter is an electronic device that is used to read electricity and gas consumption in real-time, allowing customers to improve energy efficiency and to reduce costs. Both energy suppliers and end users will generally have live access to usage figures through Smart Meters, typically on an hourly basis, with a report being sent to the supplier at least daily via a signal such as wifi or cellular data depending on the device in use. In the coming years, it is perceived that traditional electricity and gas meters will become obsolete, being replaced by their smart equivalent as the national grids become more flexible and efficient, allowing for greater consumption of renewable energy sources.

According to Ofgem, all energy suppliers in the UK must aim to install Smart Meters in every home in England, Wales and Scotland, while 250,000 of the devices were set to be fitted in Ireland by the end of 2021 and an additional 500,000 in each of the four subsequent years.

A number of contractors commissioned to install these devices are using Totalmobile’s Utilise App to create each of the jobs and assign them to the relevant field workers to carry out installation. This allows them to ensure all installations follow a particular sequence to ensure consistency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction while also ensuring they are in line to achieve the target numbers set out by governing bodies.

Smart Meters offer a range of functions such as informing end users how much energy they are using on a daily/weekly and even hourly basis through a small smart display located inside the home. By communicating directly with energy suppliers, it eliminates the need to physically go and read the meter, saving costs and completely eliminating the estimated readings which are often a cause of frustration among many energy customers on a regular basis.

Utilise provides a complete end to end solution for managing the installation and commissioning of smart electricity meters using AI to optimise job scheduling. The solution covers everything from customer management, appointment booking, dynamic job scheduling to minimise travel time and carbon emissions, smart meter configuration from the mobile app via bluetooth, smart meter registration, cost management, business intelligence, rostering and timesheet capture. In addition, the app also offers a lone worker safety feature to ensure field workers are protected when working alone.

The Intelligent Solution

Utilise uses artificial intelligence to “learn” and optimise schedules based on the actual time to complete jobs per technician, live travel times, changing appointment times and resource availability. The mobile app interfaces with electricity smart meters using bluetooth technology allowing technicians to configure the meters from their smartphone or tablet.  Using notification messages, Utilise keeps end-customers informed of expected technician arrival time, prioritising customer experience.

The Benefits:

Dynamic Scheduling: Utilise smart meter installation management app has at its core a dynamic scheduling engine using AI to recalculate schedules in real-time. In the real world, days rarely go as planned. When customers change appointments, emergency requests need attention, jobs overrun, or technicians get sick, Utilise automatically adapts the schedule.

Customer Experience: Totalmobile’s dynamic scheduling solution ensures that more appointments are met on time, leading to better end-customer experience. The application sends notifications to end-customers keeping them advised of technician expected arrival times.

Reduced Travel Time: With Utilisel, routes are automatically optimised, reducing travel times, optimising productivity and minimising the number of resources required.

Reduced Carbon Emissions: Using Utilise, the Industry reduces carbon emissions by reducing travel time with route optimisation and the total elimination of paper.

Resource Planning: The Utilise capacity planning tool shows the anticipated resource level required versus the forecasted resource availability based on annual leave, training and sick leave, optimising resource planning.

Easy Configuration: Utilise mobile app connects with electricity smart meters using Bluetooth, allowing technicians to configure the meters from their smartphone or tablet.

The Utilise solution is already being used by some of the largest smart meter manufacturers in the world. Landis + Gyr’s power industry clients are using the Utilise solution to intelligently manage the installation of smart meters in the Nordics.