CommTechPlanner is a tool for the determination of the optimum mix of communication technologies for Smart Meter (SM) deployments.

The rollout of SM infrastructure means a substantial capital investment of several 100 million euros for a medium size Distribution System Operator (DSO). As there is no single communication technology covering all SM communication requirements of the DSO, instead a mix of different technologies is required and to be combined in an optimal manner. With this optimal mix and the right deployment strategy for the SM rollout specifically adapted for the distribution grid of the DSO, considering all resulting CAPEX and OPEX, a medium sized DSO can save up to several 10 million euros.

CommTechPlanner integrates geographical and grid information (e.g. location of SMs, substation, topology, cabling information, etc.) as well as simulation and lab test results. The use case is based on the BKW SM rollout. However, the tool has been enhanced to integrate the corresponding grid information data bases of any DSO. It includes in addition information regarding the communication technology functionality, coverage and costs (CAPEX and OPEX).

Based on such DSO specific data, CommTechPlanner determines the optimal mix of communication technologies for the data transmission between the SM and the DSO’s head end system.

The tool provides the DSO with a well-founded base for decisions regarding the planning and installation of the SM rollout as well as the operation, maintenance, updating, etc. of the communication network (secured functionality, CAPEX/OPEX) for the DSO’s overall grid but also local areas (e.g. cities (quarters)) or villages. The tool saves also for negotiations of the DSO with communication solution / product suppliers.

Coordinator and Partners

Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) – Project Lead

BKW Energie AG - Partner