Talquin Electric Cooperative, Florida’s fifth-largest distribution electrical cooperative, is implementing Sensus technologies for its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and smart metering program that will serve all 54,000 residential, commercial and industrial members in its 2,6000-sq-mile territory.
The co-op is in the process of installing Sensus electric meters equipped with remote connect and disconnect and iPERL residential water meters, both of which are being read by the Sensus FlexNet communications network.
“The smart grid program will replace an aging system that for seventy years required our members to submit their own electric meter reads each month,” said Jeremy Nelms, engineering manager for Talquin. “The new system will notify us when an outage occurs and when power is restored—an important benefit given that our members are located in a tropical storm- and hurricane-prone area.” For its water customers, Talquin is moving from manual water meter reads to wireless reading to improve data accuracy and timeliness and reduce the number of utility truck rolls.
After two years of intensive research, Talquin chose the Sensus FlexNet system, a point-to-multi-point network based on open standards, to support its electric and water needs due to its long-range transmission power via primary-use, Federal Communications Commission-licensed spectrum. Talquin also purchased the FlexNet Home Server software solution to support future program expansion for home energy management, utilizing ZigBee technology as well as pre-pay billing options.
“Not only has the FlexNet system been proven in the field in more than 300 projects, it can support electric, water and gas utility customers on a single communications network,” said Randolph Wheatley, vice president of marketing for Sensus. “FlexNet will reliably serve Talquin’s members today and can easily scale to support future network applications, including distribution automation and demand response.”
Smart meter installation began in December 2010 and Talquin estimates that installation of all electric and water meters will be complete by late 2011 to early 2012. Talquin is one of a few co-ops nationwide to receive an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for its smart grid program.