Tantalus says US municipal utilities engaging with AMI overlay solution


Itron Tantalus meter reader solutionUS smart grid company Tantalus has made public the level of interest it has received from municipal utilities in its low-cost advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) migration solution.

Tantalus reports that the company has engaged with more than 15 municipal and cooperative power utilities across the US that are using encoder receiver transmitter (ERT) technology and Tantalus’ Utility Network (TUNet) to upgrade from one-way communication to automated, two-way AMI.

Utilities including Coldwater Board of Public Utilities (CBPU), Cedar Falls Utilities, City of Healdsburg (CA), and the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency (SC), report that since using the joint solution they have made significant performance gains.

‘Great potential’ to make savings

Some TUNet sites are collecting and automatically delivering double the anticipated number of ERT meter readings, essentially transforming existing automated meter reading (AMR) systems to AMI within weeks, said Charles Bauschard, engineering manager for CBPU.

Mr Bauschard said: “The capability of the TUNet ERT overlay is already showing great potential early in our deployment.

“In the field, the range of the system is greater than expected and the reliability of reads, especially on hard-to-read water ERTs, is better than expected.

He added: “With ERTs installed on 100% of our system, having a viable option to continue to use these AMR assets without delaying or sacrificing our ability to implement advanced applications like load control on the same TUNet AMI platform that we’re deploying today will be invaluable.”

Tantalus has also completed a MultiSpeak integration from TUNet to Cold Water Board of Public Utilities MeterSense meter data management system, which will enable future implementations of real-time applications such as voltage management, system optimization, water conservation projects, and advanced data analytics.

The utility’s goal is to utilize this integrated platform to improve customer service by providing tools for energy usage presentment and improved billing data analytics.

Municipal utilities potential

Commenting on the “rapid and ongoing adoption” of the ERT reading capability, Peter Londa, president and chief executive officer at Tantalus said the company sees “tremendous opportunity in the municipal and cooperative utility markets”.

He said: “[We can] deliver an economical technology bridge through the TUNet overlay that serves as a path towards AMI and smart grid adoption.”

Mr Londa said the utilities that have already begun the migration represent just a portion of the nearly 40 million electric and 20 million gas and water legacy ERT devices already in the field.

Texas utility first to deploy

In November 2014, Garland Power & Light was the first to deploy a joint Itron-Tantalus solution in a bid to automate the collection of electric and water encoder receiver transmitter (ERT) readings.

Itron announced last month that its advanced meters are now fitted with Tantalus’ TRUView GIS.

Itron said in a statement that the solution aims to allow multi-commodity utilities to preserve existing investments in electric, water, and gas ERT technology.