“We needed to upgrade our system to a two-way communication network that could manage remote meter reading and connect/disconnect as well as provide real-time outage information,”
SBEC moved ahead on a formal agreement for full deployment of 24,000 Sensus iCon® meters and six base stations beginning in February 2012 after a successful pilot. SBEC personnel have thus far deployed 9,000 electric meters with completion projected for the end of this year.
The Sensus FlexNet solution offered SBEC a number of options that were beyond the reach of its existing advanced meter reading configuration, such as compatibility with its outage management and customer information systems. The secure, licensed spectrum frequency also enables the Bellville, Texas, utility to better cope with interfering frequencies that often accompany major metropolitan regions.
Lambert said that the move to a wireless communications system has already proved its value despite only a partial build-out.
“We’ve been impressed by the system’s low-latency as it’s quicker in showing alarm conditions in the OMS, which means we can get the customer’s power back on much sooner and often without a phone call,” said Lambert. “I can ping a meter and get a response in less than three seconds; I don’t know any other system that can do that.”
Assisting in the research was the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) which partnered with Sensus last year to recommend to its members a wireless communications solution that automates meter reads, reduces truck rolls and receives real-time notification of outages for faster service restoration.
About San Bernard Electric Cooperative, Inc.
San Bernard Electric Cooperative, Inc., of Bellville, Texas, has approximately 3,600 miles of line serving approximately 25,000 meters in eight Texas counties—Austin, Colorado, Lavaca, Waller, Montgomery, Harris, Grimes and Fayette.
Sensus is a leading utility infrastructure company offering smart meters, communication systems, software and services for the electric, gas, and water industries. Sensus technology helps utilities drive operational efficiency and customer engagement with applications that include advanced meter reading, data acquisition, demand response, distribution automation, home area networking and outdoor lighting control. Customers worldwide trust the innovation, quality and reliability of Sensus solutions for the intelligent use and conservation of energy and water. Learn more at www.sensus.com.
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