Consortium of Apator Group and Phoenix Systems with an agreement for the development of smart energy devices in the grid of Energa Operator


In the second half of April, the consortium of companies from Apator Group and Phoenix Systems concluded an agreement with Energa Operator for the sale and delivery of 7000 pieces of Concentrator-Balancing Sets. The devices, which are the foundation of the Smart Grid ecosystem of Energa Operator, will be delivered to Gdańsk, Kalisz, Koszalin, Olsztyn, Płock and Toruń. As a part of the consortium, Apator SA and Apator Telemetria will be responsible for manufacturing and design of the devices, whereas Phoenix Systems from Atende Group will be responsible for delivery of the device software based on Phoenix-RTOS – an open, scalable operating system for the Internet of Things.

This is another major step in the development of smart grids in Poland, particularly important also in terms of the recently amended Energy Law which assumes, among other things, the creation of CSIRE, i.e. a central energy market information system, and introduces a schedule for the installation of smart meters.

– The purchase of Concentrator-Balancing Sets is another ′milestone′ in the implementation of smart grids in Energa Operator. We are consistently continuing the implementation of smart metering installations at end-users, which began in 2010, while at the same time taking care of the necessary technological development in the previously applied solutions. This implementation provides numerous benefits to the very user, the most important of which include the possibility to settle energy on the basis of the data on actual consumption, the possibility to check the amount of energy introduced into the grid by prosumers and the possibility to create an informed consumer of electricity. Changes taking place in the Polish law pose new challenges and increasingly higher requirements for metrology infrastructure. As the Distribution System Operator we invest in new technological solutions, such as the use of PRIME 1.4 technology with frequency of up to 500 kHz for communication between meters and concentrators. Thanks to this solution, we will ensure communication with the devices currently used in Energa Operator and with future solutions offered on the global market – Ewa Sikora, Director of Distribution Services Division in Energa Operator, says – We are also glad that Polish companies take part in our tenders for the purchase of smart metering infrastructure. This allows us to initiate the development of the Polish technological thought and to educate engineering staff. We look forward to good cooperation with the contractor of communication devices such as Concentrator-Balancing Sets.

The new project is based on the synergy of experience of the companies which, as ones of the few entirely Polish companies, have been developing systems for smart energy technology for years. It will combine the know-how of Apator Group in the scope of designing and manufacturing smart grid devices with the experience of Phoenix Systems in the scope of the operating system for the IoT devices and development of communication stacks used in smart grids. Phoenix-RTOS is already used in smart gas meters, energy meters and data concentrators. Apator and Phoenix Systems are currently working on further common projects, including an innovative smart meter based on universal and flexible technology that will allow to use new functionalities introduced by applications (like in a smartphone).

The Concentrator-Balancing Set is a combination of a balancing meter with a data concentrator, installed at medium-voltage substations, e.g. in order to ensure communication with smart meters and to provide metering information regarding electricity quality parameters. The installation of the devices is a result of the decision of the President of the Energy Regulatory Office – the acquired data are to be used for the purposes of the future quality regulation. Thanks to the installation of the devices, customers are supplied from monitored medium-voltage substations. The Concentrator-Balancing Set is an important part of smart grids.

– The Concentrator-Balancing Set is the key element of a smart grid that enables communication between remote reading meters operating on the basis of modern PLC technologies – Artur Bratkowski, Metering Equipment and Systems Director in Apator SA, explains. – This solution plays the role of the ′local smart supervisor′ in the communication of meters, operating on the level of the low-voltage/medium-voltage substation. It is also an indispensable element for the communication with the rest of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (e.g. HES system) – Artur Bratkowski adds. – Our objective is to offer a comprehensive solution for the AMI and the Concentrator-Balancing Set is the next stage of building a comprehensive offer of Apator Group in the scope of smart metering.

The Concentrator-Balancing Set device will be developed from the ground up in Poland on the basis of a proprietary implementation of the PRIME v.1.4 power line communication standard, which will be the first in the world to use all available channels in the FCC band (0-0.5 MHz). The use of all channels will enable higher communication bitrate and increased immunity to interference, and will allow multiple concentrators to operate within a single transformer station. The previous generation of Concentrator-Balancing Sets used the PRIME v 1.3.6 standard in the CENELEC A band (0-100 kHz), and there are over 35,000 of these devices in the Energa Operator network.

– The innovative Concentrator-Balancing Set device, developed together with Apator, is another important element in the implementation of smart metering in Poland – Paweł Pisarczyk, CEO of Phoenix Systems, said. I believe that the use of the broadband, i.e. all communication channels of PRIME 1.4, will allow for reading of data from energy meters in real time, which is a necessary condition for the development of a community-based energy technology of the future. I am pleased that our open Phoenix-RTOS operating system is more and more frequently chosen as the basis for modern metering devices that are already the Internet of Things devices.

The new Energy Law assumes, among others, a schedule of the installation of remote reading meters – the so-called smart meters – by electricity distribution system operators (DSOs). By the end of 2023, at least 15% of a given DSO customers are to have such meters, two years later – 35%, by the end of 2027 the ratio is to be at least 65%, and by the end of 2028 – at least 80%. Data from the meters on energy taken from the grid and returned to it will be summed at 15-minute intervals. Data on power, quality parameters and other data will also be collected and this collection will be provided for in separate regulations.