Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

NES lands Linz Netz smart meter contract

Steve Rogerson
July 10, 2019



Austrian utility Linz Netz has selected California-based Networked Energy Services (NES) to expand its smart meter infrastructure. The order is for over 80,000 single and poly-phase smart meters and supporting communications infrastructure and software, with an optional extension of 60,000 meters, to be delivered over four years.
 
NES has provided smart meters to its consumers and achieved high communications SLAs using the OSGP standard for powerline communications. This means Linz Netz can automatically gather metering information, update meter configuration and firmware, and monitor power quality parameters over the wire, and without having to purchase separate communications services.
 
The OSGP standard, which NES uses, provides security, including AES128 encryption and in-built mechanisms to detect threats, attacks and intrusion. The Association of Austrian Electricity Companies, Oesterreichs Energie, places the protection offered to consumers and the energy supply they receive and rely on as a priority.
 
Through collaboration with Linz Netz, NES will deploy its security system, which includes end-to-end encryption, role-based access controls, signed firmware and software, and extended audit and logging. Another feature, firmware separation, streamlines the certification process, providing flexibility and future-proofing to meet new security requirements on existing infrastructure.
 
“Linz Netz is very pleased to be working with NES on this extension project,” said Jörg Mittendorfer, Linz Netz CEO. “We recognise NES as being a key technology collaborator in our smart energy ecosystem and as helping us achieve a position of market leadership in Austria. Over the years, we have been impressed with the reliability of the meters, security and communications, all of which are central to the success of our smart grid and provide us with future-proofed technology.”
 
The inclusion of wireless M-Bus in the NES meters means they can be used to connect to in-home displays presenting consumers with energy consumption information, read metering information from other utility meters and form the basis for future-proof communications with other smart home devices.
 
Finally, they are backwards compatible so all the generations of meters deployed for Linz Netz can be managed through the same monitoring and management system, a feature that removes any disruption through the introduction of the latest generation of meters.
 
“This project demonstrates NES’s commitment to provide industry leading security,” said David Thomson, NES CEO. “The Austrian market is implementing smart meter security that will make its consumers among the most protected in the world. We are proud that NES technology, and the OSGP standard which it implements, has been selected by Linz Netz to achieve the high standards set by the Austrian market for consumer protection against cyber attack.”
 
NES is delivering this with S&T, a long-established member of the Austrian energy market, an experienced value-added reseller of NES technology and an existing supplier to Linz Netz. S&T will be responsible for the deployment of the NES system and for introducing back-end security for the increased protection of consumers.
 
NES is headquartered in the USA with R&D centres in Silicon Valley, North Dakota and Poland, and sales offices throughout the world. Its smart grid technology is used in nearly 40 million smart meters and other smart end devices around the world.
 
NES is participating with ACI to help the Oshee electricity operator in Albania use its smart meters, operational support services and analytics in Tirana. The project will deploy smart meters to residential, business and light industry consumers in Tirana, with an on-going project to renew distribution cable infrastructure.