The year was 1995, and automated metering and wireless communications were still in their early development stages. Most AMR initiatives at the time were confined to handheld collection and mobile point system solutions. Only a scattering of power line carrier (PLC) solutions were deployed in rural settings.
That year Union Electric Company of St. Louis, now known as AmerenUE, made a decision to begin a project to deploy one of the world’s largest wireless fixed-network AMR systems. Over the decade since then, Ameren has moved forward to expand its capabilities and is now laying a foundation for full, two-way, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).
Ameren is currently engaged in a significant AMI project that is expanding services to more than 1.1 million additional gas and electric customers throughout Illinois. The rollout started this year and will span a four-year period. Upon conclusion, Ameren will have more than 2.5 million end points in its system across several operating subsidiaries throughout Missouri and Illinois.
Ameren’s decision to expand its program with Cellnet Technology Inc. into new operating subsidiaries was based on a systematic evaluation of system-related benefits tracked over a 10-year history of success with Cellnet’s wireless fixed-network http://www.elp.com/articles/powergrid_international/print/volume-11/issue-3/features/10-years-of-results-amerenuersquos-amr-business-case-evolves-to-support-ami.html.
NETL Modern Grid Strategy Powering our 21st-Century Economy
ADVANCED METERING INFRASTRUCTURE
Conducted by the National Energy Technology Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability February 2008
WHAT ARE SOME EXPERIENCES WITH AMI TO DATE?
Some utilities have been moving in the direction of AMI for a number of years.
As their experience has grown, so has their insight into the advantages of moving beyond AMR to AMI and eventually to a smart or modern grid. The following cases illustrate that evolution and describe ways to approach an AMI deployment. It is important to note that a number of applications not initially contemplated are now adding great value. This strongly suggests that AMI systems that have the flexibility to readily accommodate new applications will prove to be the best long-term investments. Close coordination and cooperation between state regulators and utilities is a key to a smooth, successful AMI deployment.
CASE 2 The following excerpts from John Luth’s (2006) “10 Years of Results: AmerenUE’s AMR Business Case Evolves to Support AMI” describe one utility’s decade-long transition from AMR to AMI.
1994–1997: The UE Business Case & Initial Rollout By early 1997, nearly 400,000 St. Louis area meters were on- line delivering 24×7 data available in 15-minute increments.
The initial business case was conservative. It focused largely on rapid payback, hard-dollar benefits across areas including meter reading, customer service and operations.
A Platform for the Future Anticipated benefits beyond hard-dollar meter reading savings were a significant part of UE’s decision to begin implementing a wireless fixed-network AMR system. The original sponsoring executives and the UE project team saw the implementation as a long-range strategic initiative that would ultimately help achieve the corporate goals of maintaining competitive energy costs while improving customer service. Early project charters also emphasized the longer term vision of implementing an intelligent network platform.
CASE 3 Internationally, there are a number of AMI installations, as described in the following list (see bibliography; “Advanced Metering Infrastructure – MGI View”):
• Italy’s Enel has installed over 27 million communicating solid-state meters. (completed in 2006 – 4 year ROI)
• Sweden’s Vattenfall is in middle of rolling out 600,000 advanced meters and E.ON Sweden is in the early stages of rolling out 370,000 advanced meters.
• The Netherlands government has announced its intent to replace all 7.5 million electric meters in the country by the end of 2012.
• In Austria, Linz STROM recently announced plans to deploy advanced meters to 75,000 of its customers.
• In Canada, Hydro One has begun installation of smart meters in southern Ontario and expects to complete the installation of 1.3 million throughout its service territory by 2010.
• Norway recently announced a smart meter roll-out to 2.6 million customers by 2013.
• Australia/United Kingdom and others.