Eletropaulo Plans Brazil Smart-Grid Program to Boost Reliability

Eletropaulo Metropolitana Electricidade de Sao Paulo SA, the Brazilian utility unit of AES Corp., is planning to install smart meters that will monitor electricity usage for as many as 80,000 customers to improve the reliability of its power grid and curb theft.

The three-year program may include other systems that will help the Sao Paulo-based utility keep track of power consumption as well as recharge points for electric vehicles, Paulo Pimentel, manager of automation services, said in an e-mail yesterday interview.

A growing number of South American utilities are using smart meters, which may transmit data wirelessly and provide utilities with information on blackouts and identify customers who may be illegally tapping power lines. Eletropaulo has installed about 60,000 smart meters to date, making this its biggest smart-grid project, Pimentel said.

“The main focus here is to improve the quality of our service” and reduce power theft, he said in a telephone interview. He said it’s too early to discuss costs.

The meters will comply with national standards that are expected to be issued this year by the country’s electricity regulator Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica, he said.

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