Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC) has awarded Aclara, a leader in smart infrastructure solutions to electric, water and gas utilities, an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project that will employ Aclara’s state-of-the-art Synergize RF-based metering network system. The near real-time data collected by the system will enable the utility, which spans 3,500 square miles across 13 counties in South Central Texas, to quickly identify and isolate the causes of power outages, determine the effect of bi-directional power flow on operations and monitor the true voltage going into homes.
The system covers approximately 84,000 commercial and residential electric endpoints. Aclara will provide an end-to-end solution that includes smart meters, software analytics, and installation and implementation services in connection with the project. This comprehensive solution offers GVEC a single point of accountability that will enable the utility to enhance customer service and improve operational efficiencies.
One of the key benefits of the new system is that it will provide the data GVEC needs to proactively serve its customers. For example, the system’s unique outage notification system functionality will allow meters to communicate with the utility’s outage management system in near real-time, allowing the utility to better understand the extent of the outage without depending on customer calls.
“The ability of 84,000 meters to report to us and post to our outage management system will allow us to more intelligently dispatch crews to make repairs. That is a significant benefit because we believe that it can help us reduce the amount of time customers are out of power,” said Sean Alvarez, Senior Executive Manager and COO, GVEC.
“It will also allow us to proactively alert customers that crews are on the way,” he added.
Data from the system will have many additional uses at the utility. It will be used in Volt/VAR analysis to ensure consistent voltage into homes, for example, as well as to calculate peak demand and real-time consumption rates for commercial customers.
“Our smart infrastructure solutions portfolio provides utilities with the robust information, and intelligence they need to embrace the changes happening across the energy industry, prepare for future needs and build a more resilient and reliable grid,” said Allan Connolly, president and CEO of Aclara.