Inaction from EDF/ERDF to broadly deploy anything, neither G1(SFSK) or G3-PLC, is frustrating the industry. There are several reasons for this faire le poireau. Their national political outcome was undecided until recently, and the ramifications of the election are now rippling their way through France. ERDF will probably undergo adjustments in their organization. And Euro woes will constrain cash investments. As a result of those issues ERDF has not been able to be an aggressive captain of the G3-PLC technology. It is frustrating, as a fan of ERDF, to watch them pass the G3-PLC ball without shooting. But the rest of the world is eager to play it forward.
Technically, G3-PLC works great. ERDF has installed a test deployment of 2,000 G3 “Linky” meters. The official report is under wraps and will not be released until later this year. But by all accounts G3-PLC has met their reliability goal, providing a very high connect rate on the LV side, vs a much lower connect rate for G1. Since G3-PLC continues to prove its superior reliability, data rate, and connection rate, G1′s remaining time on the field may be shorter than many expected.
Communication performance across transformers is difficult to characterize, and ERDF probably did not test all new techniques or fully optimize this path. Much of their MV lines are underground, where direct connection to the MV line requires isolation. We can expect their initial results across transformers to be less than dreamed. Existing capacitive-type coupling transformers for underground MV lines are very expensive and difficult to install. MV coupling performance must be optimized, and cost must come down. I will discuss coupling further in a later blog.
Is anybody home? Well, new lights are coming on and other players are just waking up. Other utilities are more agile and ready to take the field. Austria, The Netherlands, Taiwan, Thailand, and Ireland all have active trials underway, and product developments from multiple suppliers are emerging every day.
Each week I will discuss how to make the smart grid hum with G3-PLC, and champion all the skilled players.