Actility: Ergon Energy trials LoRaWAN in Townsville to run its network more efficiently

Published: November 1st, 2016

“NNNCo is working in close partnership with Actility to leverage their Network Server and IoT Platform which has been successfully deployed by operators around the world.” Rob Zagarella, CEO of National Narrowband Network (NNNCo)

Ergon Energy has one of the lowest customer densities of any utility company, resulting in very long distribution lines, making load variation and management a key issue for the company. In response to load issues in the energy network, the traditional solution is to upgrade the network and increase capacity, with significant infrastructure costs.

In 2015, Ergon Energy ran an internal Innovation Challenge that Sanjeewa Athuraliya, Telecommunications Architect at Ergon Energy, won with his Load Control Wire IoT submission. Ergon was looking for a scalable solution that has the capability to go beyond the trial. The company chose NNNCo as a partner able to provide a nationwide carrier service based on LoRa as their core technology and deliver the end-to-end solution. “I see it as a long-term relationship with NNNCo if the trial works and we roll out the network across the state”, adds Athuraliya.

The company chose its headquarter city Townsville (200 000 inhabitants) to trial the solution, developed with NNNCo and Actility, which will enable it to connect and control beyond substations to individual household power consumption, such as water heating. In October 2016, the company began a 6-month trial with a small number of households, where sensors and control modules are being installed on hot water circuits. If successful, LoRaWAN will roll out to other towns and regions throughout Queensland, Australia’s second largest state.