The city of Bismarck, N.D.’s water department will manage its water distribution system using the Itron network deployed by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU), a provider of electric and natural gas service to parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
This public-private partnership is the first instance in which two utilities are cooperating to share a communications network where a city’s entire meter population is being managed. Bismarck will use Itron’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution along with Itron Analytics as a service and Itron Services to improve operational efficiencies and streamline meter reading.
With the Itron solution, Bismarck can collect water consumption data and transform it into intelligence across the utility. The solution will provide Bismarck with detailed usage information to improve customer service, protect revenue and better manage water resources. With Itron Analytics, the utility will be able to gain more value from its advanced metering investment to improve utility operations and asset management.
The Itron solution being installed in Bismarck includes 21,000 water communication modules and associated collection technologies. In addition, Bismarck entered into an agreement with MDU in which MDU will provide water meter readings to Bismarck using its existing Itron fixed network. The project will not impact MDU customer billing, but rather will provide a cost-effective solution for both utilities through a shared network. Installation of the solution will begin in late summer and is expected to be completed within 18 months.
“Itron’s long history, knowledge and experience delivering automation solutions made it the right choice for the city of Bismarck. We look forward to benefiting from Itron’s AMI solution and taking advantage of MDU’s Itron communications network,” said Keith Demke, director of utility operations for the city of Bismarck’s Public Works Department. “Working with Itron, we’ll be able to meet our goal of increasing efficiencies and improving customer service through access to more detailed metering data and advanced metering infrastructure.”
“In a time where cities and utilities have begun focusing on creating smarter cities of the future that share networks and information, it is exciting to see two progressive utilities collaborate to share infrastructure to better manage water and energy resources,” said Paula Billingham, vice president of sales, marketing and delivery for Water North America at Itron. “This deployment is a great example for other water, electric and gas utilities with overlapping territories. Cooperation is possible and can benefit both utilities and the communities they serve.”