In efficiency terms, we are moving ahead with technological innovation projects within the context of the National Industry 4.0 Plan prepared by the Italian Ministry for Economic Development.
We have identified certain sectors for specific action so as to efficiently steer maintenance resources to where they are actually needed
- Digitisation of the gas networks: gas distribution networks not interconnected (by antenna), monitored with transducers, sensors and data capture devices so as to predict any disruption caused by faults and/or malfunction of the network (leak prevention, fault prevention, quality monitoring of gas distributed, consumption balancing).
- Pressure monitoring: the aim is to detect the efficiency parameter for the distribution system of low-pressure networks so that the service can be provided safely, guaranteeing the correct operating pressure and therefore preventing “no gas” emergency calls.
- Underground pipeline location: through RFID markers positioned in proximity to underground pipes, we can have structured data on a given pipe (material type, laying depth, position, etc.);
- Suspension of domestic gas supply due to arrears: in partnership with the biorobotics department of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, we are developing a prototype robot to move inside the riser to carry out the gas service cut-off.
We have been continuing the progressive replacement of gas meters in use by end users with new generation equipment (smart meters) with new functionalities. As at 31 December 2020, if associated companies are taken into account, the number of active meters at the redelivery points was 7.7 million.
In 2020, Italgas installed 1.2 million smart meters for a total of 7.49 million, which now accounts for approximately 88% of all our meters. The growing number of digital devices and sensors installed on the network will enable us to measure and monitor gas consumption more accurately, prevent faults and leaks and manage maintenance work on a predictive basis, thereby improving the efficiency and quality of the service
Meter replacement: what the regulations demand
The activities, timing and methods for this metering system innovation process are regulated by Directives from ARERA (the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment), the aim of which is to develop a natural gas market system, facilitate the technological innovation of the metering and accounting process for natural gas withdrawn by end users, improve the quality of the natural gas metering, sales and distribution service and promote the awareness of consumption.
The legislation on remote meter reading (Resolution No. 631/2013/R/gas as amended) defines the objectives, differentiated by calibre, of electronic meters put into service. These objectives were changed multiple times during the period (from Resolution ARG/gas 155/08 to Resolution 554/2015/R/gas).
In parallel with the development of technology innovation and gas meter replacement projects, as part of our everyday business activities we inspect tens of thousands of kilometres of pipeline to guarantee efficiency, in terms of service continuity and safety, recording quality standards that even exceed those required by the regulatory authority. In the last two years, in fact, we have achieved the quality standards set by ARERA for network inspection and the maximum time from emergency call to arrival on site.
For effective networking monitoring and maintenance, we have a geographic information system, based on mapping and key data for the correct location and management of distribution system components: from technical plants to safety accessories, to different pipeline specifications (location, laying depth, diameter, material, pressure, etc.).
We carry out scheduled searches for leaks, necessary to avoid gas leaks from the distribution plant and to plan maintenance and upgrading works. For the scheduled searches for leaks, in addition to traditional flame ionisation or semiconductor detectors, we use advanced instruments such as laser detectors that offer better selectivity, resolution and intervention capacity.
Added to this there is also the remote control of distribution plants to monitor data and warnings originating from the reduction plants and distribution network, and remote metering of the gas delivered. The data is made available immediately and digitally throughout the entire country, giving operating units a continuously updated overview of the status of the distribution system and the ability to take action with maximum speed in the event of anomalies.
ultimo aggiornamento 13 April 2021 02:55 UTC