Wireless AMR network reduces costs and improves customer service


Anderson, IN, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 6, 2008 – Anderson Municipal Light and Power’s automated meter reading wireless network for monitoring water and electricity usage is significantly reducing the costs caused by the inaccuracies of manual meter reading and improving overall customer satisfaction. The system was supplied by Tropos® Networks, a provider of wireless IP broadband mesh networks, and is expected to show net savings of more than $18 million over a 15-year period.

Additional benefits are vastly improved meter reading and billing accuracy, immediate electric outage detection enabling pinpointing of affected areas, and more efficient restoration service.

“We decided to implement a wireless AMR solution to eliminate the inaccuracies and lost costs of manual meter reading,” said Darren Grile, network administrator for Anderson Municipal Light and Power, which currently owns, builds and runs the network for the city. “We began to see almost immediate financial benefits as soon as we replaced the meters and also tremendously improved our customer service.”

Three years ago, the city decided to automate the electric and water meter reading system. The State of Indiana recently enabled a new funding method that supports municipal utility conservation programs, and Anderson was selected to participate. The program provided the money for automated water and electrical meters, and for the network to link them together.

Anderson selected an AMR solution from Aclara. The system was deployed using small meter transmission units (MTUs) that are integrated into both the electric and water meters. The MTUs read the meter and forward the data wirelessly through a Tropos network to a data collection unit (DCU) backhauled into the city’s fiber optic network, providing access to the central office’s back end system. The AMR system provides the central office with real-time status on power and water usage for each customer.

“We looked at a number of wireless router providers,” said Grile. “Ultimately, we chose Tropos Networks’ solution because it is the proven market leading platform that provides the best price for performance. In fact, the wireless portion of the network cost us less than what we originally anticipated.”