US energy company ALLETE unlocks full potential of smart meters

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ALLETE, a US-based energy company providing services to 160,000 customers through its subsidiaries, has completed the modernisation of its smart meters data management and customer engagement platforms.

ALLETE partnered with Triniti Consulting to upgrade its Customer Care and Billing (CC&B) system from Oracle Utilities and to implement a new Customer to Meter solution. This means all the operations that were handled using the CC&B will be moved to the Customer to Meter solution. The move will help ALLETE to optimise the functionality of its smart meters and to enhance the management, processing, and usage of consumer energy usage data and fieldwork orchestration.

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The project enables the utility and subsidiaries Minnesota Power (MP) and Superior Water, Light and Power (SWL&P), to centralise meter data storage and processing.

In a statement, ALLETE said the upgrade will help modernise customer experience, improve customer engagement with the utility’s programmes and enable innovations with rates, projects, and services.

In addition to ensuring accuracy and efficiency in consumer energy billing, the project will help MP and SWL&P to align their operations with the changing regulatory and business needs that are driving utilities to accelerate their digital transformation.

Robert Sandstrom, SWL&P President, said: “The project started as a meter data management system in early 2016 and is now a single solution that will improve the way we interact with our customers, meters, data, and fieldwork.”

Frank Frederickson, Vice President Customer Experience, added, “Minnesota Power is a leader in the state with nearly 100% deployment of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), which provides significant amounts of metering data that when coupled with our new Customer to Meter system, enables significant advancements in customer-focused rates and programmes. These advancements are key for the utility of the future.”

MP plans to accelerate its shift to renewable energy by using AMI data to better manage energy demand on its grid. After reaching a 50% renewable energy milestone in December 2020, MP has a new goal to achieve 70% by 2030 and to retire its entire coal fleet by 2035. The targets will enable the utility to reduce its carbon emissions by 85% by 20235 compared to 2005 levels as the energy company shifts to deliver 100% carbon-free energy by 2050.