Smart metering deployment has the potential to be one of the most significant changes in the energy world – IDC Energy Insights says

MILAN, Italy and FRAMINGHAM, Mass., – October 23, 2009 – IDC Energy Insights has recently released a new study, which provides an in-depth look at Gas Natural's implementation of its Advanced Meter Management pilot project, which covered 10,000 meters installed in the Spanish territory. The report identifies objectives; major drivers behind the company's decision to undertake this project; a description of the implemented solution; the business value; and major lessons learned.

"Smart metering deployment has the potential to be one of the most significant changes in the energy world, not only for utilities, but also for all consumers," said Roberta Bigliani, research director for IDC Energy Insights EMEA. "Not surprisingly, the majority of attention is dedicated to electricity. However, interest is also increasing for applying automated meter management (AMM) solutions to the gas and water sectors. However, not many gas pilots are observable across Europe (and worldwide) and Gas Natural is definitively a pioneer in this field."

The Gas Natural Group is a Spanish energy services multinational focusing on the supply, distribution, and commercialization of natural gas in Spain, Latin America, Italy, and France, where it has more than 11 million customers. In 2005, Gas Natural began a long process of evaluating, testing, piloting, and selectively deploying an AMM system for gas.

After defining its specific requirements, Gas Natural carried out two distinct demonstrations with a total scope of 10,000 meters. Each demonstration was defined to test AMM under different conditions: town typology, density of clients, gas network configuration, and communication technologies. Through the demonstration phase, Gas Natural was able to build a business case for future deployments. However, the company's current near-future plans are not for a full rollout for all residential customers, but for a deployment of 300,000 meters in locations where reading costs exceed EUR4/year.

In this study, IDC Energy Insights highlights all the most relevant steps of this implementation, as well as a ROI analysis on it. The project represents a very relevant and helpful reference for other gas companies. While the pilot's business transformation impact can be considered medium, it has a more significant transformational impact on the industry.

This IDC Energy Insights study, Best Practices: Pioneering Smarter Metering in Gas – The Gas Natural AMM Project Case Study (Doc #EIOS06R9 / Sep 2009), by Roberta Bigliani and Gaia Gallotti, is available for purchase at www.idc-ei.com[http://www.idc-ei.com].

Roberta Bigliani will cover these and other topics in the energy supply industry at the European Commission's Sectoral e-Business Watch Conference 2009 – "ICT and e-Business for an Innovative and Sustainable Economy", 29 October 2009, at the Hotel Bloom, rue Royale 250, 1210 Brussels, Belgium. Participation to this event is free and registration can be done online at http://www.ebusiness-watch.org./events/subscribe/subscribe.htm[http://www.ebusiness-watch.org./events/subscribe/subscribe.htm]

About IDC Energy Insights

IDC Energy Insights, part of IDC, is a leading global provider of research-based advisory and consulting services to the energy and utilities industry. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry-specific business and technology experience, IDC Energy Insights provides full coverage of the energy industry value chain – from upstream to retail activities. IDC Energy Insights provides a portfolio of offerings that are relevant to both IT and business needs. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company.