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Partner in a Big Way

One of the largest, fastest and most Advanced Smart Meter deployments in the US is taking place in the Dallas metropolitan area. Teaming together with Texas utility Oncor, Landis+Gyr is providing the complete solution – meters, networks and software – for this leading-edge effort.

Everything is big in Texas. On-cor, a regulated electricity distribution and transmission utility, serves over 27,000 square miles of territory, owns 3.1 million meters and delivers energy to over 7 million electricity consumers. These are big numbers. Oncor’s approach to its Advanced Metering System (AMS) implementation is no exception – Advanced Metering has arrived in a big way.

Landis+Gyr was selected by On-cor to replace over 3 million me-ters by 2012, in a project that includes a two-way communication network and electronic meters fitted with remote service switches. The system also enables consumer involvement via in-home displays, and can be expanded to include distribution automation. The USD 690 million Oncor project, which includes Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream solution, represents the largest Advanced Metering System rollout in Texas and is one of the largest in the US.

This all fits in with Oncor’s strategic aims to increase energy effciency for their consumers, and to improve their own efficiency, heralding in the Smart Grid. “With AMS technology and monitoring equipment, consumers will have the ability to get realtime information about how they use electricity. It’s essentially an electricity speedometer that puts control in the hands of consumers,” says Bob Shapard, Oncor CEO. “More efficient use of electricity will also reduce the need for new generation plants and help keep the air cleaner.”

Oncor’s commitment to helping consumers increase their energy efficiency and sustainability is clearly shown by their “Smart Texas” consumer education campaign. It is important to Oncor that their customers are fully informed and empowered to make decisions to better manage their energy use. The “Smart Texas” campaign is designed with this in mind. The program includes 1,000 square feet of demonstration space pulled by a tractor trailer, adjacent demonstration areas and a huge outside video display screen for multimedia content. Since June 2008, the “Smart Texas” program has been travelling around the service territory to community events, fairs, schools and other public gatherings. Inside are six “experience centers” that teach the benefits of Oncor’s new technology. This includes greater control over energy consumption and ways to reduce energy bills and help the environment. The tour is continu-ing over the years to come as the AMS is rolled out. Anyone inter-ested in visiting the “Smart Texas” tour can find dates and venues on the www.oncor.com website.

“With this education campaign, we believe that consumers in Oncor’s service area will better understand how to take advantage of the opportunities that the new advanced meters provide and will be able to reduce their demand – along with lowering their bills and helping the environment,” Shapard adds. This entire AMS program will also greatly benefit Oncor’s own infrastructure. In addition to the potential economic and conservation benefits, the Smart Meters will improve overall reliability. They have a two-way communication capability that helps minimize the number and length of power outages by providing an ongoing picture of the overall system and potential trou-ble spots. The utility can read meters remotely, potentially avoiding estimated meter readings, skipped meters and inconvenience to consumers with hard-to-reach meters. In addition, the meters can be remotely connected or disconnec- ted, which is a great cost saving for Oncor as service can be provisioned or discontinued without a technician having to physically visit the meter.

Oncor views their AMS deployment as the foundation for a host of financial and environmental benefits for consumers, businesses, and society as a whole. When complete, the system will empower consuers to see their energy use in near real time and identify patterns of energy consumption that can then be used to better control their energy use. This information can be used to reduce demand, lower costs and decrease environmental impact.

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