Collaborative program leverages joint action for shared technology investment and operations
COLUMBUS, OH: American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) has announced the Borough of Ephrata as the first municipal to join the organization’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) program.
The Ephrata Borough Council approved the installment of nearly 7,000 smart meters in September and AMP executed its vendor contract in October. Deployment is scheduled to begin in early 2017, with anticipated completion in late spring 2017.
AMP continues to move forward with the subscription process for its AMI program. AMI enables utilities to deploy a wide range of technologies necessary to support “Smart City” operations, including advanced metering, street lighting control and distribution automation.
AMP is a non-profit wholesale power supplier and services provider for 135 municipal electric utilities in nine states. Collectively, AMP members serve more than 650,000 customers.
“Beyond securing and managing power supply requirements, AMP continues to identify opportunities to better serve our members in a variety of innovative ways,” said Marc Gerken, AMP president/CEO. “Our new AMI program is another example of how joint action, coupled with the transparency of an AMP-managed program, can benefit municipal utility operators.”
The AMP Board of Trustees initiated a project to develop the AMI program in 2015 and members are collaborating to benefit from a shared service offering. Representatives from 11 communities, along with AMP staff, defined business requirements, reviewed request for information and request for proposal responses, and participated in workshops and vendor software demonstrations. The process engaged over 20 vendors of AMI technology and service providers, and the extensive research resulted in the selection of ElectSolve Technology Solutions & Services, Silver Spring Networks and BlueBridge Networks.
“By aggregating the requirements of our members, AMP can use scale to bring top-tier technology to member communities,” said Branndon Kelley, AMP’s chief information officer.
Kelley and Jared Price, AMP’s chief technology officer, have been charged with the AMI program’s oversight.
AMP’s AMI program reduces both costs and risks by enabling members to acquire meters and communications components under an aggregated purchasing agreement with its vendor/partners. The program provides the back office applications, IT infrastructure and supporting staff as a shared service. AMP’s AMI program will maximize value to participating members by providing overall program and individual deployment oversight.
AMP AMI Program Fact Sheet
- The periodic interactions of AMP’s Smart Grid Advisory Panel identified a common interest in advanced metering. AMP’s AMI program was a collaborative development effort among its members and AMP staff.
- AMP’s Board of Trustees explored four scenarios that its members might follow to deploy AMI:
1. Independent action with individual technology deployments at each utility.
2. Independent action and selection of a vendor-provided hosted solution.
3. Joint action and selection of a single vendor-provided hosting solution.
4. Joint action and deployment of a single shared set of technologies.
Financial modeling suggested this fourth scenario, a single deployment of technology shared by participating members and aggregated purchasing to enable economies-of-scale, would provide the best value to members.
- Participating members will deploy the standards-based IPv6 Silver Spring Network, which was selected for its bandwidth, performance and meter agnostic attributes. The Silver Spring Networks solution includes service level commitments for read reliability. Member deployments will be monitored by SSN’s Network Operations Center – 24x7x365.
- The ElectSolve application suite includes its uCentra meter data management solution, along with a broad portfolio of additional applications – including wholesale-retail sales analysis, system feeder performance and customer access to usage history. The ElectSolve application portfolio includes a fully managed Meter Data Management System, with integrations to member billing, outage management and SCADA systems.
- BlueBridge’s Infrastructure services will enable AMP to scale its back office technology investment with the pace of member deployments.
- In addition to enabling a lower first cost of equipment and software applications, the AMI program provides a fully managed back office, including software support and infrastructure upgrades. The entire environment will feature full disaster recovery and annual testing, cybersecurity monitoring of all systems, and includes future system and software upgrades.
- AMI deployments typically require a utility to replace electric meters with meters that have communications capabilities, and outfit water and gas meters with communications modules. A communications network is deployed that enables meters to communicate with back office systems to provide billing determinants and a variety of other operational capabilities.
- The AMI program manager will assist members with business case development, give presentations on the program, respond promptly to any issues brought up by participating members, coordinate member training, and manage communications between the member, AMP and vendor/partners.
- AMP’s AMI operator will provide day-to-day support to members by coordinating event reporting, scheduling and coordinating distribution of system workflows and reports. The operator will also assist with problem resolution and serve as escalation point for any system problems.
View official news release