Bluebonnet pilot program tests latest in meter technology

Bluebonnet began installing this month the latest in meter technology in 90 homes and nine businesses as part of a pilot program that will test the feasibility and benefits of advanced metering infrastructure. 

“This pilot will test AMI meters to see if they work in our area and with our technology platform,” said Eric Kocian, manager of electric operations. “The benefit to AMI meters is that they provide more useful data than our current meters. We can use that data to improve system reliability by identifying areas that are experiencing problems and then being proactive in repairing or replacing equipment before an outage occurs.”

Currently, Bluebonnet’s AMR (automated meter reading) meters record just one piece of data – kilowatt hours. AMI meters record six times more data, including, amps, voltage and blink counts, which can be better used to plan maintenance and to schedule system improvement plans. The meters also automatically report tampering and outages, enabling us to dispatch crews to the area before the outage is reported by a member.

An immediate and direct economic benefit of AMI meters is their remote disconnect-and-connect capability that will save time and money by not having to send someone to manually do the job.

The AMI meters being deployed are GE meters with Itron modules. The data will be received through AT&T’s cellular communications network. Once received, it will be processed through Bluebonnet’s meter data management system and SAP for billing. The data will then be presented to co-op members online through the Net Energy Market.

Kocian said the pilot program will provide enough data by the end of 2012 to know if the meters will work. This pilot program is the first step in moving forward with deploying an AMI meter platform, which is part of Bluebonnet’s five-year strategic plan.

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About Will Holford

Have you ever wondered about the future of electric use? Perhaps you’re curious about how some global or national events might impact your power, the environment or your bill? Maybe you’re just interested in what’s going on at Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. We want to share what we know, and that’s what the Bluebonnet Blog is about. Will Holford, Bluebonnet’s Manager of Public Affairs, is going to write most often for the blog. He’s been with the co-op since 2007, and has worked in communications for more than 14 years. Will enjoys learning about energy – and writing about it. He and other Bluebonnet employees (and occasional guest contributors) will get the conversation going -- about everything from where your power is generated to where it’s used, advances in technology, changes that will affect you, and interesting peeks behind the scenes at the co-op. We welcome your comments, questions and ideas. Email Will at will.holford@bluebonnet.coop.
This entry was posted in About Bluebonnet, Electric Grid, Smart Meters. Bookmark the permalink.

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