Advanced Meter Infrastructure

Advanced Meter Infrastructure

Project Manager

Lee Jackson, Engineering Manager


What We're Doing

Stillwater Electric Utility (SEU) and the Water Resources department are installing Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI). Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated system of communications systems, computer hardware, software, smart meters, and other smart devices. It provides efficient, centralized meter reading, facilitates system operation, and provides other important functions.  

A smart meter is an electronic device that records water or electric consumption and communicates that information to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes. The data can be used for customer billing as well as for monitoring the water and electric systems and providing important customer service.

Project Overview:

  • Replacement of approximately 20,900 electric meters with new AMI-enabled electric meters.

  • Replacement of approximately 18,000 water meter AMR radios.

  • Installation of a new AMI communications network, utilizing the City’s fiber optic communications infrastructure.

  • Computer hardware and software, providing a customer portal and integration with customer service billing and monitoring systems.

  • Computer hardware and software connecting the AMI system to electric and water utility operational systems.

The table below shows the project costs for Electric and Water resources:

 

Aclara

Electric

Water

Electric

$ 3,163,000

$ 3,163,000

-

Water

$ 3,805,000

-

$ 3,805,000

Indirect*

$ 1,157,000

$ 578,000

$ 579,000

Total

$ 8,125,000

$ 3,741,000

$ 4,384,000

*Indirect costs include computer hardware, software, customer service, project management, and other miscellaneous services that are not specific to either electric or water.


Funding Sources

  • Electric Utility - Rate Stabilization Fund (RSF)

  • Water Resources - Water Capital Fund (WCF)


Benefits

Key benefits of the AMI system being installed include:

Customer Service

  • Customer Portal software: Provides utility customers with secure access to hourly water and electric usage and other information via the web.

  • Remote turn-on and turn-off of electric meters: In the spring and fall, when OSU students are moving in and out, approximately 21,000 electric and/or water meters have to be manually read and turned on or off during the year. The new residential electric smart meters will no longer need to be manually read and turned on or off. The new smart electric meters can be remotely read and then turned off or on as needed.

    The new water meters can be remotely read as well. Remote turn-on and turn-off of water meters can also be added to the AMI system in the future.

  • Customer usage insight: Hourly water or electric meter consumption reports are a valuable tool for Customer Service when assisting a customer with an unusually high water or electric bill.

  • Water customer leak detection: Water meter reading analysis can be used to predict and report if a customer has a water leak.

Billing

  • Remote reading of electric and water meters: The AMI system will allow routine meter reading to be performed from City hall allowing customer service staff to focus on individual customer needs. The City’s 20,900 electric meters are currently read by City staff on foot. This process takes significant staff and vehicle time and exposes staff to inclement weather, traffic, dogs, etc. The recommended system would also convert approximately 1,600 of the City’s water meters that are currently read via drive- by radio read systems to fully remotely read.

  • Alarm notification: Notification of meter tampering, overheated meter socket conditions (hotsocket), water system backflow events, and meter failure.

  • Remote meter reprogramming and upgrades.

  • Flexibility to design and offer rate structure alternatives.

  • Revenue protection and theft detection.

  • Prepay options for customers who wish to pay month to month. Can also be used to reduce the risk associated with customers who do not pay their bill and may leave or have previously left owing monies to the City of Stillwater.

Operations

  • Provide real-time information to the City’s water and electric control centers: The electric utility’s Outage Management System (OMS) is used to predict the root cause of electrical outages and provide information to staff to efficiently manage the response. The OMS currently receives customer outage information from an automated interactive phone answering/response system and/or manual input. Smart meters will automatically report to the OMS directly when they sense a power loss at their location. This automated reporting will let electric personnel know immediately if a customer’s power is out without the need for them to call in.

  • Voltage control: The AMI system will allow the electric utility to provide better voltage control to all customers by seeing in real time customer voltage and amperage to better manage distribution transformer sizing and loading for reduction of system losses.

  • Smart street lights: The AMI communications system can be used to monitor and control street lights. Control modules can be installed on street lights so their status can be determined (operable or burned out) and roadway street lights may be dimmed after midnight to reduce power consumption.Smart street lights are not proposed as a part  of this project, but the proposed system is compatible with adding this feature in the future.

  • Remote water pressure monitors and other instruments can communicate using the AMI network; thus, making live field data available to operations staff.


Timeline

Note: We are currently working to execute the contract (in between out to bid and under construction). [Posted Oct. 15, 2018]


Updates

Sept.10, 2018: Stillwater Utilities Authority board approved the AMI project and authorize staff to execute a contract with Aclara.

Oct. 17, 2018:  Staff is currently working to execute the contact with Aclara. As part of the proposed contract, Aclara will perform a pilot program for three months to prove their system will operate as required under a limited notice-to-proceed. If the pilot program is successful, a full notice-to-proceed will be released and deployment will begin. If the pilot is not successful, the contract will be voided at no cost to the SUA and staff will return to Trustees to discuss further action. If the pilot program listed above is successful, full deployment of the AMI system for both water and electric will begin. It is expected to take approximately 24-30 months total to complete the entire AMI project.


Actions Authorized by Stillwater Utilities Authority (SUA)

  • 9.10.18 | SUA-18-35 |  Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) – Contract Award Recommendation