Florida’s fifth largest municipal utility has selected Tantalus and Itron to supply an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) network and meters for new residential buildings within its service area.

Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), owned by the city of Gainesville, will deploy Tantalus’ utility network product – TUNet – along with Itron Centron II advanced meters to support a range of applications such as remote disconnect/reconnect, consumer energy portals, proactive outage management, distribution automation (DA), and voltage monitoring.

TUNet will also collect data from water and gas meters equipped with Itron communication modules that are a part of an existing deployment.

David Lea, AMI project manager for GRU, said: “The ability to gain so much granular insight into our system will make a significant impact on our business operations.

“For GRU, AMI made the most sense for us if we could deploy strategically, based on very specific business drivers such as reducing the number of truck rolls we utilise on a monthly basis.”

Data communication

GRU will utilise a network design that will leverage a WiMAX backhaul for WAN and 900 MHz for LAN communications to TUNet devices and Itron communication modules and advanced meters.

TUNet will collect all energy data for real-time broadband transport to the utility head end, where it can be integrated with existing third party applications such as OMS, CIS, GIS, and billing software.

The network will also be used to facilitate wireless broadband two-way communication to existing DA devices in the field, which will help improve system reliability and enhance power quality throughout GRU’s service territory.

GRU also plans to use AMI to automatically and remotely collect water and gas reads from existing Itron communication modules as well as deliver alarms and tampering notifications from TUNet-enabled Itron advanced meters.

GRU will initially use TUNet’s remote disconnect/reconnect features to turn service on and off to these high activity accounts from the office, effectively streamlining operations and reducing operations and maintenance costs for the utility.

Another short term goal of automation will be to incorporate customer portals which will enable consumers to easily monitor and manage usage, set up balances, and receive account notifications remotely.

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Deal watch: Tantalus and Itron both win in Florida AMI/meter rollout