Electricity is essential for a community’s economic and social development, as well as for people’s daily lives. In consideration of the different geographical situations, and in accordance with one of the commitments taken on with the United Nations 2030 Sustainability Goals (“Sustainable Development Goals”), bringing electricity to isolated areas is a primary goal of the Company, through the use of new technologies and the development of specific projects to create shared value (see the chapter “Responsible relationships with communities”). It is Enel’s responsibility to guarantee that the national electricity systems of the countries where it operates as a distributor enjoy a continuous and safe energy supply. The quality of the supply is closely linked to the reliability and efficiency of the transmission and distribution infrastructure, which must be able to handle the levels of demand requested. Enel, in coordination with the others who, for whatever reason, operate on the grid infrastructure, works continuously to develop the distribution network and make it more efficient.
As for existing infrastructure, in all the countries Enel undertakes grid maintenance and modernization, mainly to reduce the number and length of interruptions to the service. Interventions can regard changes in the structure of the grid, replacement of components of power lines with inadequate technical characteristics, an increase in the degree of grid automation, as well as remote operations on substations. From the viewpoint of “commercial” losses, the use of the smart metering system (“Telegestore”) has led to more effective controls over energy balances, at the same time allowing a reduction in fraud. Smart meters are currently installed in Italy with over 30 million customers, while in Spain around 6.8 million of them have already been installed. In Romania and Brazil the installation project has continued, providing an important contribution to the monitoring of grid loading and its correct management; there are currently around 310 thousand meters installed in Romania and 745 thousand in Brazil.
In Brazil, also in 2015 the Conexão Social – Reta Velha project continued. This aims to guarantee access to the network for the local community in a poor area, to combat energy thefts and losses and to provide incentives for payments and raise awareness about energy consumption. Based on what has been done in Brazil, in 2015 a similar initiative was introduced in Romania, which aims above all to thoroughly examine some areas which are well-known for energy losses and, therefore, design and realize tailored social measures for the needs of the community (energy efficiency measures, training courses, social enterprises, etc.).
Development of Smart Metering
One of the most important strategic projects is the replacement of the current system of Smart Metering with a new generation of meters, which will be installed in Italy and then gradually extended throughout Europe, for a planned total of 32 million meters installed in the next 4 years. The Enel Open Meter, the most advanced Smart Metering system in the world, will enable the quality of the service to be improved by reducing network losses, facilitating new services and being used as a data-hub in the presence of data concentrators.
Prevention of fraud on the electricity network
To prevent fraud, from the simplest cases to the most sophisticated, Enel has taken a further step forward by creating and implementing a new electronic device and innovative inspection process, which has been patented in Europe, the USA and other countries. Thanks to this innovation it will, therefore, be possible to record the presence of those types of fraud which, by exploiting the latest and most advanced technology, are the most difficult to identify. The device is currently in use in Italy and is being tested for use in other countries.
Enel is interested in learning the judgment of its interlocutors on the services offered and undertakes surveys to measure their level of satisfaction. In Italy, through the FOUR (Front Office Unico Rete) system sellers can send requests both for action on behalf of their own customers and for technical data given a customer complaint. End customers, consumer associations, and producers can send written notifications through dedicated channels (post box 5555 or by fax to the free number 800046674).
The development of smart grids, which can handle a high level of distributed generation (also from renewable sources) and can make the best use of storage and remote management systems, will enable further important improvements in the overall efficiency of distribution networks (see the chapter “Open Innovability”).