The Smart Meter Project Completed with 5 Million Meters Installed in Saudi Arabia

from:China Electricity Councildate:2021-05-08

State Grid has recently completed the smart meter project in Saudi Arabia with a total of 5 million meters installed, which marks another milestone of State Grid in serving the development of the “Belt and Road Initiative.” It is of great significance for Sino-Saudi cooperation in the power sector and will further deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

This is a major project for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. As a key component of Saudi Arabia’s smart grid and smart city construction, it installed the largest number of smart meters at one time. The agreement for the project was signed on December 19, 2019, covering a master station system, 5 million smart meters, concentrators, external circuit breakers, the development of supporting software, as well as the production, supply, plan design, transportation, storage, installation, testing, and experimenting of hardware in nine regions in western and southern parts of Saudi Arabia. The project, implemented by a subsidiary of State Grid, China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co., Ltd, marks the first major use of electricity consumption data collection system in an overseas market.

To ensure its technical parameters meet the standard, unlike the carrier scheme commonly used in China, the information communication terminals adopt a dual-mode narrowband wireless approach. Saudi Arabia has unique environment and climate features with few high-rise residential buildings, high percentage underground power cables, high-power air conditioners running all year round, high noise in communication channels, and unfavorable environment for carrier communication. Meanwhile, the requirements of electricity consumption data collection system for Saudi Arabian customers differ from its Chinese counterparts in terms of the categories and numerical reading, functions, responsiveness, and ease of operation. Some parameter requirements even exceed that of current Chinese standards. State Grid spent nearly ten months to address various technical issues such as networking using the dual-mode approach and consumption data collection and tuning under different scenarios, hence meeting the provisions of various indicators in the contract.

State Grid has leveraged its group advantages to overcome difficulties against the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the shortage of human resources, construction and production materials, and the scattered construction sites. It completed the first-phase procurement, delivery, and on-site testing of materials in eight weeks, and at the same time, conducted mobilization, training, exams and commencement of work of the installation team. The installation and trial operation of the first meter was completed on February 2, 2020. State Grid has also improved efficiency through optimizing resource allocation, thus the daily average number of meters installed increased from 2,000 in the early stages to 60,000. The project division outperformed other enterprises participants in terms of the progress for meter installation and master station system deployment. It has achieved zero interruption, steady progress, zero suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. Even the client marvels at “State Grid speed.”

The project has adopted localized Saudi Arabian management methods throughout the whole process for integration of international common criteria, Chinese and Saudi Arabian grid regulations. The relevant measuring master station system, smart meters, and supporting equipment are all independently developed and manufactured. The export of software and hardware and service capacity exceeds USD 600 million, with the potential exportation of relevant production capacity to Saudi Arabia and surrounding regions in the future.

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