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Program will include FlexNet AMI technology and smart meters
Cobb Electric Membership Corp. (EMC), one of the nation’s largest electric cooperatives serving the northwest metro Atlanta area and a four-county southwest Georgia area, has selected Sensus to deliver smart grid solutions to its nearly 200,000 members. The smart grid program will include the Sensus FlexNet advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technology and smart meters for greater operational efficiency, automated hourly meter reads and support for future applications.
Cobb EMC chose to deploy the Sensus FlexNet system because, according to Sensus, it is the only AMI technology that communicates via a dedicated, FCC-licensed spectrum, ensuring secure and reliable data transmissions. In addition, the FlexNet technology can easily integrate with other utility systems to support distribution automation, load management, time-of-use pricing and an in-home energy use-monitoring program for customers. The project, partially financed by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, will also include Sensus iCon and other legacy electric meters beginning with a 3,000-endpoint pilot program in October. Full installation will begin in early 2011 for a total of 193,000 endpoints.
“Partnering with Sensus enables us to provide a scalable, standards-based solution that will help us more effectively monitor and manage the distribution of electricity,” said Chip Nelson, chief operating officer for Cobb EMC. “We will now be able to automate meter reads, removing an anticipated 30 trucks off the road, and leverage greater intelligence for applications such as proactive detection of outages.”
Cobb has planned a customer education program to support the transition. In addition to leveraging local media and its website to share detailed information, each customer will receive a letter shortly before their meter is replaced explaining the benefits and reasoning behind the smart grid program. The utility plans to follow-up with personal phone calls. The education program will also include brochures, door hangers and advertisements that provide additional information and resources for those with questions and concerns. As the utility moves toward implementing time-of-use pricing and load management programs in 2011, customers will receive information on ways to better manage energy use to reduce their bills.
“We are excited to partner with Cobb as they embrace proven solutions for more efficient management of energy resources,” said John Stafford, vice president of sales for Sensus. “We trust our long-term partnerships with Cobb and more than 225 other utility partners in North America will further validate that Sensus FlexNet solution is the leading catalyst for utilities to
unlock recurring operational efficiencies and savings.”