City of Plovdiv
Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia, with a population of approximately 376,000 inhabitants. It is an important economic, transport, cultural and educational center. The city grew as an industrial center, but today it is a third-sector city, business, cultural and historical site. Its economy is growing rapidly, with average GDP growth of over 13% annually. It enjoys a constant flow of investments and intensive stakeholder interest.
Industries keep their manufacturing plants on the outskirts. Some of the notable companies with a considerable flow of commuters are: Liebherr, the Socotab tobacco processing plant, a few bicycle plants, а Schneider electronics factory, and a biodiesel plant; the Bulsaphil textile plant, the largest electronics plant in the Balkans, is located nearby. Plovdiv has a business park built on the outskirts, along with several hypermarkets.
Ten universities have their premises on the territory of the city, with nearly 30,000 students, including Plovdiv natives and others commuting from the nearby towns, as well as students from other parts of the country and abroad. They have the spirit of the new age of Internet and computer technologies, and have proved to prefer online communications and consider them vital to their lives.
The city of Plovdiv is also the cultural capital of Bulgaria, bearing numerous historical and archaeological spots that interest locals and tourists. It hosts economic and cultural events -- the International Fair Plovdiv, international theatre and music festivals. There are many remains preserved from antiquity: the Ancient Amphitheatre, the Roman Odeon, the Roman Stadium, the archaeological complex Eirene, etc. These attract a great number of local and foreign tourists and visitors through the year.
As the city is an important economic, transportation, cultural and educational centre, it gathers a lot of people from different backgrounds, and thus the flow of people is constantly increasing. Both reasons motivate actions towards improvement of local infrastructure, facilities, information and technologies.
In addition to the traditional market online services, the city of Plovdiv has introduced IT-oriented services for its citizens and visitors. They cover administrative services, local and international businesses, public transport, and the social networks, and involve the leisure and touristic activities. Even though the infrastructural advancements are behind the ICT, the current technological advancement facilitates the data flow in the city, and the databases built can provide good historical and current information for its ICT future. Some of the measures realized include:
- City-oriented: Internet platform for the infrastructural projects in the city of Plovdiv, online interactive city map, online platform, with live web cams from the city, Internet-based map of the public transport and platform to gauge satisfaction with public transport.
- Citizen services: online register for local taxes; e-platfrom for kindergarten application; online register for pets; online system for near-real time noise monitoring; smart phone based parking fee payment.
- Business-oriented: investments portal; portals for public consultation; numerous platforms for the local initiatives.
The city of Plovdiv is served by EVN in terms of electricity and heat. With 1.5 million customers, EVN holds more than 276,000 info points in Plovdiv and provides its electricity services to households, small and medium-sized business, and some large customers. Even though the traditional meters are renewed periodically and usually are manually monitored, remote meters installed number 17,000. They produce hourly data for the energy consumption.
EVN supply the city with heat from their CHP station situated just on the outskirts. Its network reaches 35,000 users. In the winter season, the CHP plant offer heat, but in the summer months it is equipped for smart cooling.
In 2013, many of the municipal buildings underwent renovation, including kindergartens and schools. Some of them adopted PV panels on their roofs to provide hot water, thus acting as prosumers in the iUrban context.
Along with the municipal buildings, many of the blocks of flats got the opportunity to apply for funding under the national operational program “Regional Development”. The funding they would receive would cover building renovation and window replacement, roof and ground floor isolation, and in some cases a change in the heating infrastructure.
The iUrban software in the city of Plovdiv will allow for adequate evaluation of the energy and heat consumption and its close monitoring. It will create a new customer perspective on their participation in the development of a new product that will benefit them. On the other hand, the common database built with the support of EVN will provide an overview of energy and heat consumption in the last years. This will be useful to the local authorities and the utility in terms of optimisation and improvement of the energy and heat systems.
The city of Plovdiv will be represented by 30 customers, including prosumers, in the iUrban system – one CHP Plant, two office buildings, one nursery, six kindergartens, one high school, one mayoral building, and 18 private residential buildings will join. They are representative of the city consumption and production profile. Additionally, the historical data from the distant meters and manually monitored meters will be integrated into the iUrban system so that an excellent picture of energy consumption is built.
The CHP provides heat for the city, smart cool, and electricity for its own use. The two office buildings have PV panels installed and will act as prosumers, along with the kindergartens and nursery. The mayoralty building is the first smart cool user in the city of Plovdiv, and will also have smart electricity and heat meters installed.
The high school included in the iUrban project has already established a smart real-time monitoring and control system for electricity and heat. Its software and hardware solutions will be integrated with the iUrban tools, thus presenting a seamless chain of ICT.
The participation of 18 residential buildings will ensure the participation of citizens in the city of Plovdiv – they will replace their electricity and heat meters with smart ones. The installation will be done in apartments and other buildings.
Being the tenth-largest city on the Balkans, Plovdiv has consumer, prosumer and producer profiles, and can be presented with opportunities to generate new business models and user engagement initiatives.