White Paper Details Need for Total Cost of Ownership Evaluation

Sept. 6, 2016
Aclara publishes Wired Group study on advanced metering, communications networks

Aclara published a white paper titled “Evaluating Total Cost of Ownership Models When Choosing Advanced Metering and Communications Networks." It emphasizes the need to evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO), rather than focus on the cost of initial implementation, when selecting advanced metering and communications networks.

The white paper is based on interviews, regulatory filings and other publicly available information gathered by the Wired Group consultancy. The Wired Group provides objective and independent analyses of the technological advances, customer expectations and environmental issues facing distribution utilities.

The study comprised several steps, including evaluation of the experience of both for-profit and non-profit utilities regarding various types of deployed meter communications networks; examination of technical product specifications available from suppliers of various meter communications network types; and interviews with investor-owned utilities, municipals, and rural electric cooperatives ranging in size from 30,000 to more than 5 million endpoints.

The research indicates the following main points:

  • The choice of the meter communications network has significant impact on TCO.
  • Point-to-multipoint networks may offer the lowest TCO when compared with the alternatives of mesh, drive-by and manual networks.
  • The meter communications network chosen by a utility impacts future capabilities, and point-to-multipoint networks offer a robust platform for additional smart infrastructure solutions, such as load control and distributed automation, that enable utilities to optimize networks and enhance the level of service they provide.

“Taking a long-term, macro view of both costs and the robustness of the communications network are key points for utilities to consider when choosing an AMI solution (planning the future of their networks),” said Kumi Premathilake, senior vice president, advanced metering infrastructure. “One can assess the true costs of an AMI network only by evaluating the total cost of ownership over the network’s lifetime. While not insignificant, implementation costs over the first couple of years paint only part of the picture, whereas the network configuration plays the major role in the lifetime operating costs that the utility needs to assess.”

To download the full white paper, visit www.aclara.com.

Source: Aclara

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