Nicor Gas

The largest gas distribution company in the US state of Illinois is partnering with Sensus to complete an advanced metering infrastructure programme this year.

Kickstarted in 2018, the smart meters project involves meter installation for 2.2 million customers.

Nicor Gas has installed a two-way communication network FlexNet as a foundation for the AMI project. The network allows data telemetry to and from residential and commercial gas meters.

The utility fast-tracked its AMI initiative by deploying the FlexNet EasyLink Mobile Communications solution to automate data collection through the use of long-range radio devices.

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The developments enabled Nicor Gas to quickly reach a one million installation milestone last year.

Gretchen Ohl, manager of AMI deployment at Nicor Gas, said: “The ability to read meters remotely helps us simplify the process for customers moving to new properties and it also reduces our carbon footprint with far less service vehicles on the road.

“We transitioned from billing customers with estimated reads to actual reads from real-time data.

“It was like going from the Stone Age to the Modern Age.”

Sandy Garcia, director of special projects at Nicor Gas, adds: “We’re committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas for our customers, our neighbors and our communities.

“Investing in new programs and technologies across the Nicor Gas system is a key step toward building a state-of-the-art natural gas delivery system for northern Illinois.

“The automation will enhance our customer experience by helping to eliminate estimated meter reads and providing more timely and accurate data about their energy usage. The resulting analytics gives customers more control, enabling better-informed energy- and cost-savings decisions.”