Jan 06, 2010

Toho Water Authority Begins Deployment of Aclara STAR Network System AMI

Phased deployment begins with 5,100-meter pilot

Aclara, a provider of Intelligent Infrastructure technologies and part of the Utility Solutions Group of ESCO Technologies, Inc., announced that the Toho Water Authority, Kissimmee, Fla., has chosen the STAR Network advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system for a phased deployment, beginning with a 5,100-meter pilot. Toho is the largest provider of water, wastewater and reclaimed water services in Osceola County, with 125,000 total water meters.

Toho will aim to use the AMI data collected from the system to enhance customer service as well as conserve resources by reducing water losses from leaks, inoperable meters and theft. In addition, Toho expects to enhance its tiered water rate program using data it collects, allowing it to offer rates tailored to specific types of residential or commercial customers. It also will aim to analyze the data and provide advice to customers on ways to conserve based on usage patterns.

“We believe the STAR Network system will significantly improve efficiencies in collecting meter readings and other data from water meters, enhancing Toho’s ability to accurately track consumption,” said Gary Moore, president of Aclara RF Systems, Inc. “Even more importantly, our solution will provide significant consumption information to consumers, allowing them to actively conserve sustainable resources and lower bills.”

Meters in the Toho water system are located both in pits and aboveground. The STAR Network system meter transmitters, mounted to the underside of composite pit lids and connected to the underground meters, are hermetically sealed and are therefore less likely to malfunction due to high humidity or flooding in the pits, the company said. The system’s data collection units, mounted throughout the city, will be designed to withstand sustained, hurricane force winds of 150 mph.

The STAR Network system employs licensed 450- to 470- MHz frequencies that aim to penetrate materials better with less interference than higher frequency, unlicensed signals. It collects meter readings hourly, transferring them on a utility-defined schedule. The company said the system provides flexibility to utilities with its support of multiple standards-based communication protocols and technologies.