Tennessee utility delivers America’s ‘fastest and most reliable’ AMI system

AMI US reliability
Chattanooga Electric Power Board delivers consumption data at 15 minute intervals, 96 times a day through its AMI system

In the US, Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB) and smart grid provider Tantalus have announced performance results, which they claim gives the eastern Tennessee utility the most reliable and fastest AMI system in North America.

The TUNet AMI deployment, started in 2010 and completed in 2013, utilizes the city’s existing fibre optic network to delivery consumption data at 15 minute intervals, 96 times a day, across more than 175,000 meter end point – with reliability rates of almost 99%.

The ability to reliably deliver large quantities of data is a requirement in utility AMI infrastructure.

“When we began our smart grid deployment five years ago, we envisioned leveraging the power of connected applications, data analytics, and real-time control of every device on our distribution network,” said David Wade, executive vice president at EPB.

“That vision has come to life during the past five years.

“The Tantalus TUNet hybrid network, working with our fiber network, delivers an astonishing amount of data that enables us to proactively anticipate and respond to distribution system issues before they become a problem for our customers.

“Our investments enhance customer satisfaction and electric grid reliability while contributing to Chattanooga’s economic growth.”

Innovation to secure the future

EPB has also recently partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in a research project.

The project, which will leverage expertise in big data analysis, cybersecurity and control system operations, brings EPB’s state of the art network together with ORNL expertise in computer modelling.

Jim Glass, manager of smart grid development, said: “It is helping us understand what the future of the electrical system might look like, and trying to help us be ready for it.”

Glass continues that EPB are working with ORNL on a controller which could control “solar, energy storage and demand response for equipment behind the customer meter.”

“We are going to see more distributed, clean, variable systems like photovoltaics,” seconds Thomas King Jr, ORNL’s director sustainable electricity.

The lessons learned in the project will illuminate the role of advanced technologies in reducing carbon emissions from power plants, the goal of U.S. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, the utility said.