Conference: Metering, Billing/CIS America
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Presenter: Stephen Nees
Abstract: Presented by Stephen Nees at Metering, Billing/CIS America

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.  We followed the commercial and industrial initial deployments with a series of pilots and a demand-response demonstration program. 

As consideration was given to wider or even full-scale deployment, it became apparent that to even begin to reap benefits a centralized meter data management system would be required.  A comprehensive business case, including implementation of an MDM was developed, selection of an MDM that could meet business needs was completed, and approval for initial ‘production’ deployment of AMI and MDM was received.

There are several significant benefits to an MDM.  From the AMI perspective, it allows the utility to integrate multiple AMI platforms which facilitates vendor competition, adoption of changing technologies, and mitigates risks associated with having a single AMI provider.  Some would argue that selection of a single AMI vendor is optimal.  Based on our experience, no single AMI provider provides solutions that meet all of our requirements.

 Another benefit is a single repository for meter data.  The single data source benefits the Customer Information System (CIS) by providing a single billing feed to the CIS that reduces complexity in the long run. The single source of data also provides data for load research, regulatory reporting, and program (such as demand-response) reporting.  Outage management can be improved with a bi-directional, filtered link to the Outage Management System that can provide early identification of outage limits, validate restoration, and reduce truck rolls.

Customer service can also benefit from faster call resolution with immediate and detailed information regarding usage patterns.  How do we know this?  Previous experience with a more limited customer presentation capability for commercial and industrial customers clearly demonstrated the benefits.

New demand-response programs can be controlled and results tracked with an MDM in place, reducing the number of systems that users have to understand and use. As we are implementing remote connect/disconnect, we are also finding benefits.

Last, and certainly not least, is that the envisioned Smart Grid cannot effectively be implemented without an MDM to integrate metering systems with other systems.