The mission of this group is to bring together utility professionals in the power industry who are in the thick of the digital utility transformation. 


Opportunities Behind Private LTE in the Electric Utility Economy

image credit: © One Photo |
Byron   Rojas's picture

CEO & Founder at EASYMETERING, LLC. Telecom & electronic engineer skilled in cellular platforms, experienced solutions architect, product creator, speaker, leader; with 25+ experience...

  • Member since 2021
  • 3 items added with 4,721 views
  • Oct 10, 2022

This item is part of the Utility Guide to Private LTE - OCTOBER 2022 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more

Usually, a knowledge-based economy and free markets are characteristics that we can find in the countries that are at the top of the economies of the world, a good competitor in this kind of environment needs to add value to the economy in order to receive market traction, a clear example of this is the Telecom Industry, herein we can see how the innovation and competition have permitted to accelerate the evolution in the telecom public services, and also they have contributed to the growth of the economy of countries, therefore Telecom Industry has been an attraction for other many third parties such as companies, investors, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, inventors, Universities, and more, that they have been motivated to participate of this big party.

Your access to Member Features is limited.

What happens in the power energy sector? If we can represent in a figure the importance of the electrical grid in most of the activities of the current economy and modern life, it could be the base of the pyramid that sustains many other activities to keep our accelerated lives. Any failure at the base will affect the upper layers, for this reason, electric utilities have a huge responsibility to the rest of the other economic sectors, and of course, it is not easy to adopt new technologies for accelerating the grid transformation, this is the reason why, across the world, electric utilities and electricity grid operators are seen as a slow evolving industry without a good understanding of their essential role in the global economy.

However, it is not the unique reason why evolution in this sector takes a lot of time, another one is the telecom infrastructure base on proprietary technologies, that Electric Utilities buy from vendors of RTUs, Reclosers, Smart Meters, and more devices, regarding these smart meters, it represents to come in dependence on their providers, and on the contrary, for providers, it represents a great opportunity to capture some electric utilities and take control to supply devices for the long term. Providers will not have the necessity to improve their products, this situation generates a landscape of monopoly practices that avoid the evolution of the power energy industry.

Completely opposite of the previous outlook, Private LTE represents a disruptive economic moment for Electric Utilities and Clean Energy Economy, because LTE is an Open Standard Telecom Technology, with great features such as broadband 5x5 MHz channels, high-speed rates, reliability, resiliency, secure data transmission,

TCP/IP protocol, bigger frame size, peer to peer network, better RF propagation on 900Mhz, and so on, definitely Private LTE will accelerate the grid modernization.

All of the current business models deployed across the world by Electric Utilities to sell power energy depend on meters, being the largest number of devices on the Grid, they are not part of critical mission infrastructure, however they are essential to Electric Utilities’ economics.

Although smart meters are powerful sensors, their vendors have achieved a penetration of only 65% in the US market during twenty years of development, it means that this technology is not adding enough value to the economy, because they are only used for automation of energy billing processes; and better not to mention what is happening in the rest of the world where the penetration of smart meters is less than 35%.

Monopolistic practices and non-standard proprietary telecommunications technologies, are not the only causes for this discouraging scenario, well, it deserves to be analyzed, and the problem lies in the nature itself of narrowband technologies used by smart meters, it involves features such as low capacity for the transmission of data, high latency, no peer-to-peer protocol, meters depend on hierarchical topologies, many cases are no TCP/IP, and more, which don't permit major innovation.

In narrowband, it is difficult to imagine a major innovation around smart meters, for example, think that they can transmit in real-time and simultaneous critical energy information from the grid.

Fortunately, It will be only possible to achieve, if Broadband Technologies are used in this use case, therefore, Private LTE in Electric Utilities represents opened doors for innovation, more competence, new products, new business models, best prices, and motivation to others to participate in this new big party.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 11, 2022

How do you see the growth of the VPP model impacting these types of opportunities and discussions? Or is that more apples and oranges? 

Byron   Rojas's picture
Thank Byron for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network® is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »