Anaheim Public Utilities forges ahead with its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)


Conference: Smart Metering West Coast
Location: Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A
Presenter: Stephen Nees
Abstract: Presented by Stephen Nees at Smart Metering West Coast

There are a number of key drivers that have forced most utilities to at least initiate investigation into Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).  In the case of a mid-sized Southern California municipal utility the drivers have included legislative and regulatory initiatives, demand-response concerns, the ability to offer new services, improve forecasting, and operational efficiencies.

Anaheim Public Utilities embarked on its AMI journey about 6 years ago with the introduction of smart meters for its largest commercial and industrial customers.  Drivers included the ability to offer Time of Use rates for the largest customers, which required meters with additional capabilities.  The technology deployed for this category uses satellite paging or a public network. 

The next phase was to investigate residential application.  We ran a 2 year pilot with four vendor’s products.  Based on the success we had with the technologies, we went further and initiated a demand-response pilot that would take advantage of the metering capabilities of the new system.  The Spare the Power Days pilot ran during the summer of 2005.  The results were comparable to those achieved in a statewide Critical Peak Power pilot.

With the pilots completed, the next phase for Anaheim was completion of business case analysis taking into consideration a variety of factors including deployment alternatives, economic issues, operational issues (including impact on union staff), service impacts and most importantly, funding.  The architecture recommended includes meter network(s), data collection, meter data management with integration with CIS, OMS, and EAM.   The deployment alternative recommended (unless mandated otherwise) is a strategic deployment in targeted areas (high turnover, high delinquency) and new development areas.

The cornerstone of effective AMI deployment is implementation of a meter data management system to serve as the core of the infrastructure.  A RFP was developed and published in April 2007.  Responses were evaluated and an MDMS was selected.  Evaluation was rigorous, including technical aspects such as architecture, performance, and ability to be integrated with existing systems as well as a future enterprise service bus.  Other factors included company viability, stability, and of course, price.  The selection is scheduled for approval on 8/21/07 by the Anaheim City Council.

AMI technology will include three metering systems.  One already deployed for large commercial and industrial customers and two RF mesh network solutions.  Two solutions are being selected for risk mitigation and to increase competition.