Thursday, 8 November 2018

Why I Feel M1 is a Hidden Dragon

Recently there are a number of happenings surrounding M1.

Firstly is the offer from Konnectivity which everybody would have heard of by now.

And earlier this week it was announced that CEO Karen Kooi will be stepping down on 6th Dec.

It is my belief that the first point stated above is related to what I am going to write as follows.

TL:DR version.

M1's involvement in smart metering will be the next driver for its business.

Previously I have written about how I feel about the potential of M1's new acquisitions and initiatives including the move towards IoT.

Amongst IoT, I personally believe that smart metering will play a major role in the transformation of our country.

With M1's involvement in the smart metering environment, probably Keppel and SPH know how 'big' is the potential (and value) and how much it will benefit M1 in the coming future.

Hence the offer for buyout.

As it stands currently the biggest issues that Singapore face is water and power.

With the trend towards NEWater and desalination both of which requires tremendous amount of power, the water issue is essentially a power issue as well.

Furthermore with the recent power outage which affected more than 140,000 consumers in many parts of Singapore on the night of 18 Sept 18, it is apparent that certain elements of our power generation is not equipped to cope with sudden peak demands.

This is one of the areas where smart metering can comes into play.

What does a smart meter do?

1) A smart meter measures and records energy usage in short intervals.

2) It provides two way communication at the meter. Energy usage is communicated in real time allowing the utilities to be remotely monitored.

3) It can facilitate better electricity supply, better in-home data and better load programs.

4) Remote load control. A smart meter can be programmed so that high usage equipment can be turned on and off based on time or price or other parameters through the communications.

5) Exported power generation can be measured. This is useful with the trend towards solar energy generation in Singapore.

6) Outage detection. Utilities service providers can remotely check the status of any meter.

7) Meter tamper detection. A smart meter can also be monitored to see if it has been accessed without authority.

8) Remote time synchronisation. A smart meter's internal clock can be kept accurate without site visits.

9) Any events e.g. voltage spikes, voltage drops, outages, etc can be recorded by the meter.

Referring to points 1 - 4 above. Imagine if Singapore is already a smart grid nation, the outage on 18 Sept would likely have been prevented or at least rectified more quickly.

Furthermore imagine the man-hours saved! The SP services guys will not need to check the meters outside your house every other month.

How does it helps to improve our national electricity market?

As Singapore moves from centralised power generation towards integration with distributed generation, smart grids with smart metering may be the solution to many problems currently faced.

Firstly the reliability of the grid is always a great concern. Smart grids make troubleshooting grids much easier as information flows digitally from all areas of the grid making it easy to determine the problem source.

Secondly our electricity demand has been increasing and generators may struggle to supply the power required during periods of peak demand. Smart grids with demand side management (DSM) can ease the pressure on the supply by giving consumers incentives to lower their energy consumption and use electricity more efficiently during peak periods.

Thirdly the increased use of distributed generation (particularly from renewable energy sources) poses new problems for utilities companies who must integrate this new source into the grid. Smart grids have the capacity to integrate multiple power flows hence allowing for better integration of these technologies through improved communication.

M1's move into the smart metering segment means that it is directly involved in the transformation of our national electricity market which may well proved to be the game changer or at least a new major driver for M1 business.

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