Ergon Energy is leading the power industry in the use of M2M (machine-to-machine) technologies to run its electricity network across the vast distances of regional Queensland.

Pioneering the use of satellite technology to boost reliability in remote parts of the state – Ergon’s innovation has attracted the eye of world media recently.

Following testing and proving of Inmarsat satellite technology to great effect in recent years, Ergon is using the system in places where traditional communication technologies like the Telstra 3G network does not reach, including areas that are several hours drive from the closest company depot.

Power pole with satellite technology attached 

The satellite connectivity now reaches more than 100 reclosers (pictured), five substations, three mobile substations and several revenue meters of large industrial customers and the Ergon-designed Grid Utility Support Systems (GUSS).

With more than 150,000 kilometres of electricity network, Ergon has one of the lowest customer densities for systems of its kind in the world.

The good news is that the precise remote control provided by the Inmarsat technology for can ensure better efficiency and reduce pressure on network running costs.

The use of this satellite technology was the focus of a special feature article in the respected international trade magazine IoT.

"Ergon is considered a pioneer in the use of M2M (machine-to-machine) connectivity over satellite for control and monitoring of the power grid,” Senior Telecommunications Architect Sanjeewa Athuraliya said.

“It's all about making the network smarter in a bid to boost reliability and improve the quality of supply for customers," he said.