Electricity Ashburton currently has 13 minders deployed, providing a point-to-point link from its office to a remote substation at Pendarves.
The company can monitor conditions such as power passing through and the temperature of the transformers and can switch parts of the equipment on and off remotely.
The minders are much cheaper than alternative radio or fibre-optice solutions, both because of the small scale of the equipment and because the spectrum and signal power involved does not need a licence, says inspector-technician Brian Rickard.
More minders are shortly being put in to expand the link to a full mesh network for EA. This will bring in other transformer sites and third-party users, beginning with a local school, which will get internet access through the network.
The current link provides an internet connection for EA, which Rickard says is a vast improvement over conventional access. “Ashburton’s [Telecom] exchange is abysmal. I have a 56K connection at home and I hardly ever get more than 30 out of it.”
Mains power is taken to most of the minders, but one is an experimental stand-alone solar-powered setup, but apparently it’s not set up quite properly yet. Ironically the lines of trees, which Arnoud boasts IndraNet can get round, block the sun from the solar panels in the late afternoon and the batteries go flat.But the panels are being moved.
Rickard is impressed by the staff as well as the technology. "All the people I've talked to from IndraNet are very clever guys."