The town of Spanish Fork City, Utah, has joined neighboring cities in selecting smart meter technology from North Carolina-based Sensus Metering Systems. Spanish Fork City has a population of about 23,000 and there are about 10,200 utility customers.
City officials decided to go ahead with a full deployment of the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system after observing a successful pilot run of the Sensus FlexNet system. Specifics within the plan call for installation of a system capable of handling 10,000 smart electric meters and 16,000 smart water meters over the next two years. According to officials, there are several thousand of the meters already deployed and are fully operational. Guy Chang, Supervisor of Electricity Metering Services for the town, said, “Our long-standing trust relationship with Sensus, our analysis of AMI technology options, and the successful performance of the pilot led our city council to a unanimous conclusion in favor of the Sensus FlexNet AMI system.”
FlexNet utilizes wireless communications towers capable of transmitting between 75 and 300 miles between a base station and phone transmission towers. From the phone tower, information can be transmitted to smart meters in consumers’ homes and computers where utility usage information can be viewed over the Internet. The system is capable of handling natural gas smart meters as well.
Spanish Fork City prides itself as an early adopter of automated meter reading in North America, having first developed a partnership with Sensus over 14 years ago when the TouchRead water meter system was first installed throughout the area. Even though that system is nearly 15 years old, it still greatly eases the transition to the modern FlexNet AMI system.
Paul Taylor is the water meter Supervisor for Spanish Fork City. “It has been easy to upgrade to FlexNet for Spanish Fork due to the large population of Sensus TouchRead water meters already in the system,” he said. “The plug and play nature of the TouchCoupler connection allows for easy, waterproof connections, but remains modular in the event of a future meter change,” added Taylor. The Sensus system allows for both electric and water services to be monitored and managed on the same network – this was a deciding factor for the decision makers in Spanish Fork City.
The AMI system will provide Spanish Fork City with two-way communications between utility providers and consumers. This allows for automated billing, readings on demand, and the ability to remotely connect or disconnect services. The FlexNet system automatically delivers readings on an hourly basis and provides automated monitoring for leaks and tampering throughout the city’s service area of 13 square miles.
“The simplicity of the tower based RF solution yields low operations and maintenance costs over the life of the project and supports our requirements for rapid growth with minimal infrastructure. The open systems TCP/IP information system provides immediate compatibility with our existing networking and billing operations. We are big believers in the power of the Sensus licensed-band RF solution which mitigates our future risk over the life of the project,” said Chang.
“Spanish Fork was a pioneer in automatic meter reading to achieve meter reading efficiency and also enhance customer service. It is not surprising that they are taking the next step into the future with a transition to the optimal AMI solution,” commented Doug McCall, AMI Marketing Director at Sensus Metering Systems. “We were happy to work with Spanish Fork on the pilot to ensure FlexNet provided the solution they were seeking. Clearly, it performed well and we now look forward to the opportunity of serving Spanish Fork for many years to come.”
Sensus Metering Systems has been a leader in developing world-class smart metering solutions for electric, natural gas, and water utilities around the world.