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Australian utility, IBM team for Perth smart grid initiative

Australian electric utility Western Power has selected IBM as its systems integration and project management partner for an advanced meter pilot “smart grid” infrastructure program. Value of the contract was not released.

It aims to provide a platform for a range of energy efficiency and demand management initiatives in Western Australia. It will be included in the scope of the Perth Solar City Project.

Perth Solar City is a A$73.5m federal government initiative for communities within Perth's Eastern region over the next 4 years, helping them to rethink the way they produce, use and save energy.

Residents will be offered free energy advisory services, and generous price reductions on solar hot water and solar photovoltaic systems. One of the key objectives of the program is to encourage behaviour change in energy consumption through energy assessments and education.

Key to the success of the Solar City initiative is the design and deployment of an intelligent network - a digital, open standards-based network of sensors, metering, communications, computer processors, and analytics which connects an entire utility company, from power plant to plug.

"Having a smart meter installed will enable customers to view consumption rates and costs of appliances,” says Lisa Cunningham, smart grid manager for Western Power . “The smart meter also automatically alerts Western Power to power interruptions and enables rapid outage management.”

IBM has begun work with Western Power to identify solution requirements, design network architecture, and develop implementation plans. Key IBM skills include architecture design, process improvement, change management, security, program & project management, requirements definition, implementation and support.

IBM is currently working on seven of the world's ten largest advanced meter management projects, and is involved in almost 50 smart grid engagements around the world, including with Energy Australia and Country Energy in Australia.

Western Power is based in Perth and owned by the West Australian government.

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