SMECO shares AMI deployment successes

The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) announced some of the results of its AMI deployment in partnership with Sensus.

Ken Capps, chief operating officer at SMECO, said: “We laid out a business case for the upgrade that identified more than 40 operational benefits, including automated meter reading, faster outage response and restoration and more efficient allocation of resources.

“The anticipated savings far outweighed the cost of the system.”

SMECO, energy provider to some 160,000 consumers in southern Maryland, partnered with Sensus to deploy the company’s AMI solution which included more than 70,000 smart electric meters and a communication network.

The utility deployed the AMI solution to automate its billing processes and reduce operational costs associated with manual meter reading.

“We have high operational costs, from labour expenses to vehicle maintenance, which comes with sending technicians to collect meter data, connect and disconnect service and perform other tasks,” added Capps.

The utility says it avoided the use of vehicles to collect consumer usage data by 1,100 times during the first four weeks of implementing the AMI solution.

The two-way communication system remotely sends smart meter data to SMECO for billing processes and has simplified the utility’s acquisition of smart meter data in rural, bushy and sparsely populated areas.

The solutions provider claims its communications network is helping SMECO to communicate with its AMI in a reliable, fast and secure manner.

“The Sensus AMI system offered the best communication between end points over our varied terrain and allowed us to automate routine processes…We will also obtain useful voltage and meter data that will help us address issues before they become problems.”

Adoption of smart meters in the US

Meanwhile, the Jefferson County Public Utilities District in Washington state announced its partnership with Itron to deploy its AMI programme.

The two will collaborate in implementing the AMI project following a decision made by the board of commissioners at Jefferson County Public Utilities District to purchase smart meters for its electric customers from Itron. Read more…


Image Credit: 123rf.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.