Case study: Radio Teleswitching System

Cygnet delivers on £0.5m energy deal

Cygnet Solutions has completed a project on behalf of the Energy Networks Association (ENA) for the major upgrade of the UK Radio Teleswitching System (RTS). Valued at over £500,000, the contract provides for the complete re-vamp of the business-critical RTS infrastructure including new hosting arrangements, replacement wide area network and new telecommunications services. The project scope includes the ongoing operation and maintenance of the system.

Patrick Kelly, Finance Director of the Energy Networks Association, confirmed that the work had been completed on time, and to budget, and was appreciative that the complex change-over procedure from the ‘old’ to the new system had been successful.

The Radio Teleswitching System is invisible to the majority of users. The RTS service is used, for example, by Electricity Supply Companies to control the charging of domestic night storage heaters. The RTS service works by encoding sub-audible data on the BBC’s Radio 4 198kHz transmission. “Smart” electricity meters in the home detect this signal and switch heaters on and off according to instructions received. The result is that consumers receive the optimum amount of heat taking account of local weather conditions and are able to benefit from significantly reduced energy costs.

The original RTS infrastructure was developed some 25 years ago. Cygnet has migrated the RTS application software to a multiply redundant hardware platform based on HP Integrity servers running under OpenVMS. The project also sees a shift from traditional leased lines for telemetry to an IP-based solution based on the Thus MPLS network.

Cygnet’s Business Development Manager, Brian Higton, described the project. “The RTS is a service that few people are aware of but yet operates in real- time controlling the space and water heating in hundreds of thousands of homes in the UK. We are delighted to be working with the ENA on this vital project” Higton said.

Patrick Kelly emphasised the importance of the RTS to its members. Kelly said “the RTS helps Electricity Supply Companies optimise the use of generation resources so as to conserve energy while providing the consumer with a cost effective service.” Kelly believes that we may see an expansion in usage of the RTS service as renewable energy and micro-generation schemes become more prevalent. [C]

Further resources

  1. Radio Teleswitch website
  2. Energy Networks Association