Communication Technology, DER-Grid Edge, Distribution Automation / Substation Automation, T&D

Long Beach uses Sensus FlexNet Communication Network

The city of Long Beach, which sits just 22 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, is routinely rated as one of the most walkable cities in the country. 

Years ago, meter readers were among these walkers, going from house to house to collect usage readings. More recently, new technologies and a growing population have changed the face of gas service delivery to residents and businesses in the eight neighborhood districts that the city serves.

The journey to technological advancement began with the adoption of a mesh network that allowed communication between the city and more than 156,000 meters via publicly available spectrum. 

The system opened the doors for remote meter monitoring and management but failed to meet growing security requirements. To address current needs, boost efficiency and establish tools for future growth, the city transitioned to a next-generation advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution from Sensus, a Xylem brand.

In 2014, the city deployed the Sensus AMI solution with R-275 and 415 gas meters and the SmartPoint GM transceiver to serve customers. Running on the two-way FlexNet communication network, the system enables reliable end-to-end communications and data integrity over a radio spectrum that is protected from interference. The network solution has proven dependable and accurate for the city from the start.

“In the five years since we installed the system, we’ve had outstanding read rate success across our Sensus meters,” said Long Beach Energy Resources Business Operations Analyst Renee Williams. “Consistently accurate data is a huge asset, particularly when you combine that with the extra privacy it ensures for our customers.”

With its sizable university population, Long Beach service technicians used to make frequent trips to address the ever-changing student population. The new system has helped the city address this time-consuming process with on-demand capabilities.

“We’ve eliminated about 80 truck rolls per-day using the AMI solution,” said Williams. “We now have a soft-off policy that allows staff to monitor meters remotely as residents transition between properties, saving us two trips to manually shut down and re-start the meter.”