18 May 2017
Swisscom Energy Solutions has developed and realized a virtual energy storage network “tiko” which connects more than 10000 electric heating devices throughout Switzerland, such as heat pumps and hot water boilers (tiko.ch). A central back-end system communicates with locally installed metering and control devices via the mobile communication system and in-house power line carrier technology. All loads are permanently monitored and controlled in a way that ensures the consumers’ comfort is not affected. The flexibility of the aggregated load is used to provide primary and secondary control for the power transmission system operator Swissgrid. Since 2014 the system is fully operational, technically and commercially. The project is realized in partnership with electric utilities and heat pump vendors. It is one of the most advanced smart grid installations in the world and the first one that successfully enables small private loads to participate in realtime power grid frequency control. The customers benefit from various functionalities accessible via webpage and smartphone applications. Users can see the instant and historical power consumption of their heating devices and benchmark themselves with other participants in the tiko network. The app allows users to easily put the heating system in an energy saving mode. Users receive alarms whenever the tiko system detects a problem, before they suffer any loss of comfort. Electricity suppliers and distribution grid operators benefit from increased customer retention, access to realtime consumption data, extension or replacement of the standard ripple control, and the possibility of active network management.