smart utility

North Carolina-based utility EnergyUnited has partnered with Sensus to modernise its grid infrastructure and billing processes.

The utility, which services 110,000 customers in 19 counties, deployed a smart utility network from Sensus as part of efforts to upgrade from a power line carrier system.

The PLC automated the utility’s electricity meter reading but deploying a smart utility network would help to optimise communication with smart meters.

EnergyUnited also selected Sensus’ Software-as-a-Service which gave them a private and secure cloud-based environment where software maintenance is managed.

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In addition, EnergyUnited rolled out more than 70,000 Sensus smart electricity meters within the first year of deployment. With the new meters in place and the ability to communicate via the secure, two-way FlexNet communication network, EnergyUnited now receives near real-time data and insights.

EnergyUnited plans to deploy the remaining 60,000 meters by the end of 2020.

The communication network allows the utility to deliver accurate and timely meter data and the smart meters help to keep member costs low.

The remote management capabilities improve outage response, save staff time and also lessen the utility’s carbon footprint with service calls.

EnergyUnited’s chief operating officer John McMurray, said: “We strive to stay on top of new technology in our never-ending quest to provide exceptional service.”

“We weren’t just looking for a smart meter solution but rather a smart grid solution.

“Shortly after deploying, we received an alert from one of our new Stratus meters about a potential outage and we dispatched a crew within one minute. Seven minutes later, 911 emergency services called us about the problem but we were already addressing it. Now it feels like we can see our grid with X-ray vision.”

Chief information officer at EnergyUnited Kathleen Hart, adds: “Having Sensus manage our software upgrades has drastically reduced the time we typically spend on them. It took us three months to deploy the last upgrade of our PLC system. Working with Sensus, our latest upgrade took less than a month.

“EnergyUnited recognizes the importance of sustainability measures and has eliminated about 450 truck rolls a month, which represents a 25% decrease over three months.”