Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has selected the STAR® Network system from Aclara RF Systems Inc. (formerly Hexagram), a subsidiary of ESCO Technologies Inc., to provide additional electric advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) products for PG&E’s SmartMeter™ Program.
PG&E began evaluating Aclara’s RF electric solution in June 2007 with a 2,000 unit field trial intended to demonstrate and validate the capabilities of Aclara’s electric RF fixed network. Now the utility has ordered 88,000 Aclara RF electric devices to be installed in the Central Valley region of northern California. These units will include a ZigBee® connector as well as an interface to a connect/disconnect function integrated in the meter.
PG&E has indicated it is their intent to order a significant quantity of Aclara RF electric AMI devices throughout 2008, in addition to the nearly 400,000 TWACS® power-line based electric AMI devices being installed in the Bakersfield and Vacaville areas. This electric deployment is in addition to PG&E’s ongoing gas AMI installations utilizing Aclara products. The RF electric units will operate under PG&E’s installed STAR Network AMI system which currently manages data from over 200,000 gas meters already installed in the Central Valley. Aclara RF Systems is currently under contract with PG&E to provide a potential 4.1 million gas units over the life of the contract.
The Aclara STAR Network employs a secure, licensed radio frequency to transmit and receive data. Compatible with gas, water, and electric meters, the STAR Network offers a redundant system architecture that ensures data security and reliability.