How did it all start?
More than 20 years ago, when the European directive on smart metering systems was still in its infancy, providers developed AMR systems and tried to retrofit old meters with additional modules for remote reading in the power grids.
The ADD Grup (one of the leading providers of AMI solutions for water and electricity meters) has already started what was then the largest project in Ukraine with 250,000 smart meters with full AMI functionality, two-way communication and load control. The main task of the system was to combat illegal electricity consumption. Obviously, Ukraine wasn’t the only country that suffered from power losses.
As early as 2006, the so-called “risk areas” in Bulgaria posed a serious problem for electricity suppliers with consumer abuse by wrong users and caused financial losses in the millions. To deal with them, the utility companies had started power regimes and even closed entire substations. However, these measures had started to unsettle the local population and put authorities, citizens and utilities in an incredibly difficult position.
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To address this grave sociopolitical problem, ADD GRUP, together with its Bulgarian partner ADD Bulgaria, proposed a very unorthodox way through the use of smart metering technologies, including installing electricity meters that can be remotely accessed, measured, turned on and off . In this way, every electricity consumer would be billed according to his actual consumption, without having to take account of other consumers and without having to suffer the regime and the power cut-off unjustifiably.
In the period from 2006 to 2008 ADD Bulgaria implemented 6000 ADDAX Smart Meters in EVN Bulgaria for the first time. The results did not come too late, as the company achieved a collection rate of 90% in the “risk areas”. The result was positive not only for the utility company but for everyone in the city of Plovdiv as the problem was resolved peacefully and fairly. without any discrimination or deprivation of human rights. With regular and correctly billed electricity consumption, the people in the ghettos were now able to significantly improve their standard of living. This example has been multiplied in many regions not only in Bulgaria but also in Macedonia. It shows that with good will and of course with good technology, even the most vulnerable problems can be solved successfully. Politicians, diplomats and representatives from the academic world turned to ADD Bulgaria for advice and permission to use it as a case study.
In 2016, a high demand for user information and data confidentiality was required, which led to the implementation of security functions. At that time, ADD Grup developed the SS0 security protocol which works through the key management system and performs the necessary protection of all personal data received from end users. In the near future, the upgrade of the key management systems and the transition to Security Suite 1, which will be implemented by ADD Grup, are planned.
Why use ADDAX smart meters?
The ADDAX technology developed by ADD Grup enables power distributors to easily identify power losses and differentiate technical from non-technical losses. Nationwide, the percentage of losses reached 17-20%. Approximately 15 years after the first implementation of ADDAX technology, the amount of non-technical (fraud) losses has dropped to almost zero. This leads to a quick return on investment for our customer, which is the main reason why 1,100,000 devices have so far been integrated into EVN Bulgaria – almost 70% of their meters on the territory of Bulgaria are being replaced by smart meters. The success of the ghetto project in Plovdiv and the region helped ADD Bulgaria expand its presence to EVN Macedonia, where the problems were similar to those in Bulgaria.
Interest in the technology is motivated by the severe economic impact it has on businesses. It offers a very quick return on investment due to the enormous loss reduction.
Direct and indirect benefits for utility companies
• Minimizing the cost of metering the consumption;
• Reduction of the costs for the shutdown of irregular participants (this is done remotely from the head-end system);
• Minimizing the cost of acquiring new customers.
• There is two-way communication from the smart meter to the head-end system and back;
• Collecting a large amount of data and information on energy parameters;
• The company has information about the quality of the electricity at all times;
• Monitoring the condition of the substations;
• Quickly pinpoint locations with power outages.
Why was ADD Bulgaria the right choice for EVN Bulgaria and EVN Macedonia?
1. Technical team and support.
ADD Bulgaria has an extremely highly qualified team that is responsible for implementing the technology. The company offers 24/7 support as our teams are in constant contact with our customers and carry out additional training for their employees. Powerful servers process the information received, and our ultimate goal is to achieve the best possible results in data collection and processing, which brings added value to our customers.
ADD Bulgaria constantly provides ADDAX technology updates in order to offer its customers a modern and efficient solution with a high level of technological security. We work with standardized, open protocols, which makes our technology very adaptable. And the additional development of functions, scripts and modules that are ordered by our customers not only optimizes their work, but also helps to further develop the technology.
3. Great value for money.
The investment in our technology has paid for itself quickly due to the large reduction in losses and optimization of resources. In times of crisis, it’s only worth investing in the right things, and smart metering is part of that. The data acquisition from meters reaches the remarkable values of 99.3-99.4%. Our main goal is to offer high quality at a very competitive price while having all the necessary European certifications and tests.