US energy generation, transmission and distribution firm Avista Utilities says it is continuously recording financial benefits from a five-year smart meter rollout programme deployed in partnership with smart grid solutions provider Itron.
Globally, utilities are investing heavily in digitalisation of grid networks to improve customer services, reduce operational expenses as well as under efforts to prepare themselves for future business models.
Smart metering is one example of technologies helping utilities to optimise revenue collection, avoid stressing the grid and unveil new use cases such Time of Use energy billing and other smart energy billing applications.
During a pre-recorded session at the virtual Itron Utility Week for smart city and utility leaders in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the utility said it is expecting to record up to $221 million in benefits from its smart meter project by June 2021.
This follows Avista Utilities directing $165 million in investment towards the installation of smart meters and associated-technologies and hardware from its 2020-2021 budget.
The project involved the installation of meter data management, meter data collection, metering communication and data analytics systems.
The benefits are being witnessed through measures including rapid storm restoration, accurate billing and access to improved grid data resulting in optimised maintenance of grid assets.
Itron kickstarted the five-year rollout project with the Washington-based utility with the installation of 4,000 smart meters.
Following a successful initial start of the smart meters project, the number was increased to 420,000 units which are all expected to be live by this June.
As part of the multi-phase smart meter project, Avista Utilities has recorded $224 million in associated benefits after investing $142 million towards the initiative from its 2015 budget.
The installation of smart meters funded with the 2015 budget ended in March 2019.
In each of the utility’s service zones, some 40,000 smart meters were deployed to ensure the participation of various customers in the advanced meters project.
Once complete this June, the five-year smart meter rollout, which Avista Utilities claims to be their largest grid modernisation programme to date, will be expanded to gas customers. Some 10,000 gas customers will participate in the pilot before it is expanded to include more households.
Utilities can learn from each other’s smart meter rollout programmes to ensure successful grid digitalisation projects.
Find out more about the lessons learnt by Avista Utilities by registering for the on-demand discussion.
Learn more about the Itron Utility Week here.