Automatic Meter Reading: Electric Light & Power and Utility Automation & Engineering T&D

July 17, 2007

John Powers, Associate/Online Editor In a changing world

Recently I attended the EEI Annual Convention in Denver. When I go to industry events I usually try to spend some time walking the exhibit floor to see what companies are there and who's doing something new. I approached a metering company's booth at one point and asked if they were doing anything exciting with AMR. You would have thought I'd stumbled something terrible. The people I was talking to started to laugh and told me AMR was out. AMI is in and that's all we deal with they said.

That incident's been rattling around in my memory banks since I left Denver. A year ago, I don't think asking about AMR would have been all that strange, but now, at least according to those people, I was behind the times. In a changing world, you've got to keep up.

I hope the latest batch of articles we've collected here help you to keep up. Take a look at Jeff Lund's article on metering in Europe and the lessons to be learned from our friends across the Atlantic. I'm sure there's something there for you. Also, Betsy Loeff offers some steps to aid grid modernization through smart grid technologies. Also, to keep up, you have to know what's been happening, so check out the AMR news in brief feature, which will give you a taste of what's been happening in the industry since our last issue.

Thank you for reading and remember to send me your contributions, comments, and questions.

John M. Powers, online editor

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Feature Articles
  • Smart moves: What steps could aid grid modernization?
  • Learning from European advanced metering deployments
  • AMR news in brief: AMR/AMI market estimated to reach $2.27 billion and much more
  • The smart grid featured in episode 3 of Currents: The Energy News Podcast

New Products
  • UtilityIQ
  • Meridian System
  • Cellular augmentation for Sentinel meter

Feature Articles

Smart moves: What steps could aid grid modernization?
So-called "smart grid" technologies certainly have value, but what will it take to get them in place? Betsy Loeff explains why interoperability between devices, systems, data flows and even organizations will be key for grid modernization.

Learning from European advanced metering deployments
Starting in 2000, European utilities soared to the forefront of metering systems technology. Several European utilities have completely bypassed automatic meter reading and moved to a next generation of metering system. As North America continues the move toward advanced metering systems, there is much that can be learned by the experiences of these European deployments.

AMR news in brief: AMR/AMI market estimated to reach $2.27 billion and much more
AMR/AMI market estimated to reach $2.27 billion, DCSI and PG&E move forward with SmartMeter program, new hybrid mesh AMR system announced, and much more. We've sampled the most recent AMR, AMI, and metering news articles from our website and put them all in one convenient place. Take a look at what's been happening in metering since our last newsletter.

The smart grid featured in episode 3 of Currents: The Energy News Podcast
In case you missed it, you can listen to episode 3 of Currents: The Energy News Podcast in which we discuss the smart grid with Kurt Yeager, executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative and president emeritus of the Electric Power Research Institute. He tells us about a report the Initiative released that sought to envision the future and through that, find out how our power grid needs to change to meet the demands of the future. And after that, we have a special guest to give the Last Word.

New Products
UtilityIQ, by Silver Spring Networks, enables a utility to remotely read all major types and varieties of electricity, water, and gas meters, to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. The configurable application integrates with existing operational and business support systems. The software supports advanced meter reading, advanced network management and offers scalable, reliable data management. UtilityIQ offers functions for value billing, operations, demand response, marketing, load forecasting, and customer service. Its automated reporting functions allow customer information to be collected on configurable schedules, then managed and analyzed. These reports can be integrated with demand response applications, giving customers up-to-date information about energy consumption and expected billing rates. Securely accessed by an intuitive web-based interface or by advanced web services APIs, UtilityIQ supports secure remote disconnect/reconnect services and transmission of load and price control signals to endpoint devices. And it enables real-time, on-demand reading and "pings," so customer service personnel can offer immediate support for billing inquiries, moves, and outage/restoration.
Silver Spring Networks
Visit the website to learn more.

Meridian System
The Meridian System, from Elster Metering, is a flexible system for meter reading, data storage and data analysis. Meridian users can automatically perform meter data acquisition, analysis, and reporting. Data from meters can be read and consolidated into reports or summaries for analysis and distribution to others via email. In addition to a wide range of standard reports for viewing data or system operation, Meridian allows users to customize reports to meet their specific operational requirements. By automating scheduled meter reads on a monthly, weekly, daily, or more frequent basis, resources have more time to concentrate on making decisions. Meters can be read remotely using telephone or cellular modems, or locally using direct-wired connections such as RS-232, RS-485, or 20 mA current loop devices. Meridian provides the ability to monitor energy usage and the analysis tools needed to better manage business and power costs. Meridian can read, store and process meter information for a local facility or for a group of facilities around the country or around the world.
Elster Metering
Visit the website to learn more.

Cellular augmentation for Sentinel meter
Itron Inc. has an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) distribution agreement with Trilliant Networks Inc. (formerly NERTEC) that enables Itron to augment the Sentinel meter product line with Trilliant's cellular device technology. Using the Sentinel meter's advanced meter technology, Trilliant's cellular solution will permit more complex networks to meet the demands of the C&I market by allowing remote reads of Itron Sentinel solid-state meters with exceptional scale and coverage for utilities. Under the OEM Distribution Agreement, Itron will offer Sentinel meters equipped with Trilliant CellReader (NCXR801, GSM/GPRS, NXGR801 CDMA/1xRTT, and NCiR801, iDEN) advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) communications technology.
Itron Inc.
Visit the website to learn more.

MOSAIC from Datamatic is the first water/gas/electric AMR system capable of reading via handheld, mobile and true mesh network collection platforms with the same endpoint. Other aspects unique to MOSAIC include "self-healing operations" (When operating in mesh network mode, MOSAIC automatically reroutes data around obstructions and issues, ensuring data gets through); "universal compatibility" (MOSAIC-class FIREFLY endpoints are compatible with virtually any meter. This eliminates the need for meter/register change-out as part of an AMR project, dramatically reducing costs); and "smart endpoint technology" (MOSAIC supports sophisticated, user-defined monitoring functions including tracking conservation compliance, usage on inactive accounts, irregular usage, leak detection, etc. When issues are spotted, the FIREFLY automatically sends historical usage data over the network for further analysis and action).
Visit the website to learn more.

Electric Power Books

PennWell’s electric power books cover every aspect of the energy industry! We offer a complete line of business and nontechnical books for sales and marketing professionals, as well as technical titles for engineers. Our experts include Richard Baxter, Denise Warkentin-Glenn, and Tim Shaw. Shop our online bookstore here.


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