Jobs at SparkMeter: Distribution System Engineer

SparkMeter is looking for an individual consultant or organization to assist with the installation of a pilot system of 1,000 of our low cost smart electricity meters in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Introduction to SparkMeter

SparkMeter offers comprehensive low-cost metering solutions for everything from rural micro-grids to urban grid-extension projects. Our products help make access to electricity possible in hard-to-reach places and underserved markets. SparkMeter metering system features include pre-paid and post-paid billing, demand-side management and tariff setting, real-time remote grid monitoring and control, and more.

Project Overview

SparkMeter is looking for an individual consultant or organization to assist with the installation of a pilot system of 1,000 of our low cost smart electricity meters in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. This project will be roughly three months.

SparkMeter and Port Harcourt Electric Distribution Company (PHED), the local electric distribution company, are piloting meters under a project grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), a US Government agency that supports infrastructure projects in developing countries.

The PHED distribution system has suffered from neglect due to the poor state of utility operations. Most customers are unmetered, and it is estimated that only 40% of those that are metered pay their bills. As a result, the distribution system is in need of repairs and retrofits, ranging from new service connection drops to the replacement of substation transformers. Rewiring parts of the low-voltage distribution system feeders is also expected to be necessary.

The pilot area consists of 7 low-voltage distribution three-phase feeders, each serving ~150 customers, most with single-phase 240V service. Most customers are served with single service drops, but some customers are located in multi-family housing units with a single service drop divided across multiple residential circuits within the building.

SparkMeters utilize a proprietary 2.4GHz wireless mesh network for communications. Special care must be taken to ensure that meters are capable of communicating effectively, such as avoiding physical barriers around the meter. We recommend that meters are installed on pole-tops, which both prevents customers from tampering with meters and service drops, and improves network performance. We will provide a high quality GIS layout of the pilot area, including location of existing poles, substations, and service connections.

Responsibilities

As part of this short term contract, you will work closely with PHED and the SparkMeter team to triage and resolve problems in the field. You’ll assist with the repair of distribution system, and assist PHED on a daily basis with the actual installation of SparkMeters. Following installation, you’ll assist PHED with the configuration and initial usage of the metering system.

Your responsibilities will includes:

  • Build expertise in SparkMeter’s metering system. Before you’re placed in Nigeria, SparkMeter will train you on our metering system and installation best practices.
  • Provide feedback on pilot roll-out plan. You’ll assess feasibility of installing all 1,000 meters on 7 sub-networks in single roll-out, and develop alternative roll-out plans as needed.
  • Distribution system repairs. You will assess and advise on PHED’s plans for distribution system repair, and oversee, inspect and document retrofitting of the distribution system in the pilot area. You'll also provide regular reports to SparkMeter on retrofitting progress.
  • Meter installation. You’ll advise on selection of additional materials for meter installation, such as pole-mounting hardware, ensure quality best practices are being followed by PHED during meter installation for both safety and technical requirements, and inspect and document meter installation.
  • Business functions related to metering. You’ll understand and document existing billing practices, including prepaid billing, in PHED service territory and pilot area specifically, and engage and establish relationships with prepaid credit vendors. You’ll then provide input to SparkMeter’s US-based customer support team to integrate PHED’s existing prepaid billing platform with SparkMeter billing.

Requirements

You'll be a good fit for this contract if you have:

  • Experience with distribution system installation and maintenance.
  • Understanding of US standards for electrical safety and personal protective equipment, and ability to bring the PPE you’ll need to work safely.
  • Experience using specialized monitoring and measurement equipment, and ability to bring the equipment you’ll need to complete the project successfully.
  • GIS experience.
  • Wireless and cellular communications knowledge.
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English.

Logistics

We expect this engagement to be a monthly contract, for a maximum of three months. The position will be based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. SparkMeter and PHED will provide secure housing and transportation.

While this is a short-term contract, SparkMeter is a growing company with ongoing global deployments. There may be opportunities for additional contracts in the future.

How to Apply

Apply as an Individual

Individuals can apply for this role using this form: https://sparkmeter.typeform.com/to/WTXEpK.

Apply as a Firm

Firms may apply by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) that includes the following:

  1. Information indicating that your firm is qualified to perform the services described in the SOW within the requirements listed above, including:
    1. Description of similar assignments
    2. Experience in similar conditions
    3. Availability of appropriate skills among staff
    4. CV of key individuals
  2. Company profile
    1. Primary focus of business
    2. Location(s)
    3. Years in business
    4. Number of employees
  3. References
    1. Please provide two references for similar work completed in the past three years, including:
      1. Client name
      2. Client POC, phone number, email
      3. Brief description of project
  4. Request for clarification of Scope of Work

SparkMeter will provide qualified firms with an RFP that includes a detailed data package. The data package includes schematics and GIS files for the pilot site. Qualified firms will be expected to prepare a detailed proposal that includes schedule, budget, and deliverables within two weeks of receiving the data package and RFP.

EOIs should not exceed 6 pages. Please note that the total size of all attachments should be less than 5MB.

Qualification Criteria:

  1. Provide information showing that firm is qualified in the field of the assignment.
  2. Provide information on the technical and managerial capabilities of the firm.
  3. Provide information on the qualifications of key staff.
  4. Provide information on core business and years in business.

EOIs should be sent to Brian Gurr at brian@sparkmeter.io.

About SparkMeter

SparkMeter is a venture-backed company that was founded in late 2013, a spin-off of the non-profit EarthSpark International. We developed our low-cost, pre-pay enabled, smart metering system as a solution for electric utilities in developing countries to serve low-income customers. Our metering system is being widely adopted by utilities serving customers in rural parts of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

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