Engerati analysis Elster acquisition by Honeywell

In more deal news for Elster Solutions this week, the US metering solutions company announced a contract with a Mississippi utility for its advanced metering infrastructure solution (AMI) for water and electricity services.

Starkville Electric Department (SED) and Starkville Public Works (SPW) confirmed that city officials had approved the deployment of Elster’s EnergyAxis AMI system, which according to SED general manager Terry Kemp, is not “expected to increase either utility’s rates”.

Mr Kemp said SED and SPW targeted Elster “because the company fit the city’s needs, instead of the city adjusting its needs to fit what the company offers”.

Smart grid installation

The deployment will include more than 12,500 REX2 and A3 ALPHA electric meters, over 11,600 water modules, utility and customer energy management portals, the EA Mobile two-way mobile data collection system and IP AxisLink Gateways to enable convergence of distribution automation and AMI data through the same EnergyAxis mesh communications network.

The solution will be delivered to Starkville using Elster’s subscription-based Managed Services offering.

Kemp said: “Not only will customers be able to track their daily and average water and electricity usage, but the technology allows for bill projections, more-flexible billing options and in-depth infrastructure status reports.

“The new system will also provide the city with quicker service responses, increased customer engagement, faster service restoration, increased operational efficiency, real-time monitoring and future adaptability to rate structures.”

An initial deployment of the new project’s infrastructure is expected to begin this year, and city employees will begin training for the new system in 2015. The full deployment is expected in 2016.

Building a European platform

Elster also revealed this week that it has been working with Belgium distribution network operator Sibelga to implement Elster’s core platform for the utility’s remote metering program, in a bid to be smart-meter ready.

Elster has installed its EIServer solution on 9,000 commercial and industrial automated meter reading (AMR) units for the Belgian utility, together with its future-ready meter data communication and meter data management system.

The technology is part of Sibelga’s Remote Metering for the Industry programme, which Elster hopes will extend across Sibelga’s residential customer base in the next phase, with an additional 50,000 gas and electricity smart meters, said Frank Arbyn, the Sibelga project manager at Elster.