Consumers Energy selects SmartSynch with cell-based comms for 1.8 million smart meter deployment


John Russell,
President & CEO,
Consumers Energy
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — September 28, 2011 – Michigan utility Consumers Energy has selected SmartSynch to provide the advanced metering system that will form the foundation of a grid and meter modernization program for its 1.8 million electric customers.

The deployment will be carried out over eight years by Corix Utilities U.S.A. Meter installation is scheduled to begin in Muskegon County in August 2012 and continue in phases through 2019.

Consumers Energy has also decided to utilize existing cellular networks for large scale smart grid communications, in lieu of building and maintaining a private network. This decision makes the utility – which serves more than two-thirds of Michigan across a 32,000-square-mile service territory – the largest in the U.S. utility to choose cellular-based communication for its smart meter deployment.

In addition to the 1.8 million electric meters, the company continues to evaluate the installation of communications modules on approximately 600,000 gas meters in areas where the utility serves customers with both electricity and natural gas.

“We’re excited about installing these meters because of the benefits it will bring to our customers,” said John Russell, president and chief executive officer of Consumers Energy. “As we develop our program, it will allow us to offer new options to customers and allow them to use our system to integrate new technology – such as smart appliances and plug-in electric vehicles – into their daily lives.”

Commenting on the project SmartSynch’s chief executive officer Stephen Johnston said it could alter the course of smart grid development, with the trend to existing cellular networks only continuing.