LANDIS+GYR INTERVIEW: “Utilities need to invest in meter solutions that are smart ready. What we are saying is: purchase metering solutions that are upgradable and revenue will follow.”

1) Let’s start with some background on Landis+Gyr, there is a proud history there.
For more than 120 years, Landis+Gyr has been an industry leader in energy management solutions. Using our advanced metering infrastructure and other cutting-edge smart grid technologies, we’ve helped utility companies all over the globe improve their operations, protect their assets, lower their operating costs and provide better customer service. With a focus on quality, reliability, and innovation Landis+Gyr’s portfolio of products and services can help you do the same and modernize your smart grid for the future.

2) Any particular projects in the energy sector that you are very excited about currently?
Landis+Gyr South Africa are currently working on many local projects and local developments, the local E460 meter range has been developed to meet local requirements. With the key focus on revenue protection, the complete solution including meters, in-home displays, Meter Data Management System (MDMS). Starting with a successful ESKOM Gauteng smart meter pilot, now moving to various provinces, today ESKOM have full solution implemented, meter reading, remote connect and disconnections, load limiting when required, remotely convert customers from post-paid to prepayment, on demand meter reading, load profiling, etc.

Other projects are within ESKOM, local Metro’s and smaller municipalities are running well. Local challenge has always been communication, meter to in-home display and back to the data concentrator, with the G3 PLC solution Landis+Gyr have been very successful. G3 allows meters to be installed in steel enclosures (gun safes), large complexes, high rise building with having to install repeaters.

G3-PLC™ was developed to meet the industry's need for a potentially ubiquitous powerline communications standard that will enable the smart grid vision. G3-PLC facilitates, highly-reliable, long-range communication over the existing powerline grid.

Landis+Gyr South Africa are very proud of the local R&D team.    

3) Where in Africa are you focusing for growth?
At this point Africa is still focused on electrification, with a huge backlog. Unfortunately the focus is on low cost solutions, we can see that this will follow the South African route, once electrified all meters / solution will be replaced with online / smart meter solutions. Saying that, there are one or two African utilities that have started smart meter pilots. 

4) What are the main challenges in the industry at the moment in your view?
Keys challenges remain: low cost products that will be replaced within a few years. Utilities need to focus on the short term and with limited budgets. Governments need to electrify as many customers as possible and with the lowest cost. The problem with this strategy is revenue will not follow. Utilities need to invest in meter solutions that are smart ready. What we are saying is, purchase metering solutions that are upgradable. The current Landis+Gyr E460 meters can be installed as standalone option, at a later date the utility could then purchase Data concentrators and back office systems enabling smart.

4) What surprises you about the energy industry?
At this point it’s difficult to answer but funding remains the biggest challenge for the continent and utilities are not investing in smart solutions that guarantee revenue protection. 

5) What is your vision for this sector?
My vision for Africa, invest in the future, change the thinking, spend more today on the assets or meters, this will bring a long-term benefit.

6) You are a platinum sponsor at African Utility Week this year, tell us more about your contribution to the event and what your message will be?
We are proud of our long association with AUW and proud sponsors over the years. We have one speaker in the conference and our message theme is smart metering into the future and how to use managed services to secure utility revenues.

7) L+G has been a longstanding supporter of the event, how important is African Utility Week on the utility calendar?
AUW is the premier event in the L+G Sales and Marketing annual calendar.

8) Anything you would like to add?
Landis+Gyr remain committed in driving the changes in the metering value chain with its global presence and expertise including local RSA based R&D Technical expertise and smart meter manufacturing facility in South Africa.

More about Harold Hayes:
Harold joined Landis+Gyr in in May 1988 as a Metering engineer. Today, he is a Senior Programme Manager. He works with many Gridstream solutions namely, MDMS, AIM, HES, Suprima, Eco Advance and all smart metering devices. Harold work on many accounts, most significantly the ESKOM smart meter project that was completed in October 2017 and the current smart meter solution at eThekwini Municipality, this specific solution includes a MDMS, HES and Suprima vending system. Harold’s focus within the company is complex solutions or projects. He assists customers in their understanding of the MDMS capabilities. His knowledge of the solution is evident as he helps customers design reports to access the data most relevant to the needs of the individual utility. His experience with the solution enables him to advise customers regarding best practices when integrating the solution with other systems, focusing key focus on business analytics.

Other projects complete,
•    ESKOM, 30 000 smart meters, full turnkey project, including, meters, MDUS solution, meter deliveries, data concentrators, full solution installation
•    eThekwini: MDMS, HES, Vending, Meter deliveries, and solution implementation
•    Nigeria Abuja 118 000 full turnkey project including systems, meters and installations
•    Nigeria Enugu, 80 000 meters plus system implementation
•    Kenya 14 000 commercial and industrial meter project, meter deliveries, train the trainer and assist with project role out

Being 30 years in the metering and solutions industry, Harold is key driver in dealing with system integration and utility change management. He is responsible for analysing testing and working with quality assurance engineers on an approach to solving technical issues.

Harold has more than 30-years of experience metering solution. He has extensive knowledge of software solutions, the first AMR system implemented in ESKOM and other utilities throughout Africa.

Harold holds a Diploma in Power electronic, MBA from the university of Poland, participates in various standards bodies throughout the continent i.e. IEC, TC working groups, PIESA, AFSEC, AMEU.