US smart meters: Minnesota utility awaits approval for AMI rollout

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Superior Water, Light and Power (SWL&P) filed its plans to deploy an AMI system to improve its services for approval by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

In a press statement, the utility said if approved, the 5 year plan will allow replacement of existing analog meters with smart meters for remote and accurate water, gas and electric meter readings.

The new meters will provide a platform for the utility to implement energy and water efficiency programmes such as Time of Use power pricing.

By putting the projects into practice, SWL&P is hoping will help consumers practice sustainable usage of power and water to reduce their bills.

[quote] Commenting on the benefits of implementing the AMI plan, Rob Sandstrom, SWL&P manager of Electric Operations, Customer Service and Dispatch said: “ The project will be the platform on which SWL&P can provide new and innovative services to our customers in the future.”

The US$9.8m project will ensure quick outage restoration for electric consumers and reduced water leakages through the provision of notifications whenever a leakage or power outage is detected by the technology, states the company release.

The utility serving 36,000 gas, electric and water consumers in north western Wisconsin (Minnesota) is targeting to kickstart the rollout by the end of this year and deploy 30,000 smart meters by 2020.

To minimise the costs of the project, SWL&P said it will be partnering with the Minnesota Power through sharing information technology, communication infrastructure and administrative support functions.

US Smart meters

In other US smart meters news, the Belmont Department of Public Works that it will implement an Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project to upgrade its water network.

The town’s water division said it will replace its existing water meters with new smart water meters over the next three years.

The utility believes the installation of the smart meters will digitise its operations for improved customer services and revenue collections. [ComEd and Illinois utility collaborate on smart water meter pilot].

Jay Marcotte, chief of the town’s Department of Public Works said the system will also be used as an “early warning system” to identify possible leaking pipes.

Under the US$2.75m project, the municipality will install 20 to 30 smart meters daily during business working days.

The AMI plan came at a time the town’s electricity department successfully completed installation of  smart electricity meters.

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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.