Aclara Technologies LLC announced enhanced its TWACS (eTWACS) at TechAdvantage 2013 in New Orleans. Aclara’s TWACS power-line communications technology is an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution nationwide, communicating with more than 13.5 million deployed smart devices and retrieving hourly data with a read rate higher than 99% for more than 360 utilities.
With eTWACS, utilities now can send and receive more data over power lines than they could with earlier generations of TWACS. The protocol allows concurrent, bidirectional transmission of data on all three phases of an AC electrical distribution feeder as well as on all busses and substations simultaneously. The net effect in most cases can triple the communications capacity of an Aclara power-line communications system and add significant capacity for future communication needs.
Utilities now can use the additional capacity provided by eTWACS to handle smart grid applications above and beyond meter reading. Utilities deploying the system now will have enough capacity to handle tasks such as outage management, load control and distribution management. Testing by Aclara confirmed that with eTWACS the time to retrieve a full complement of “shifted” meter data from a 5000-meter bus, including intervals, voltages, kilowatt hours, tamper indicators, error flags and demand, could be reduced from 60 to 20 minutes.
The two-way functionality of the system also allows the utility to communicate effectively to each endpoint to issue on-request reads, control load-shed events, remotely connect and disconnect meters, and download feature enhancements. Aclara eTWACS is fully backward compatible with previous versions of the equipment so that eTWACS-capable and earlier generation technology endpoints can coexist while maximizing communication capacity.