Communication Technology, Metering, Smart Grid

Alabama municipal utility migrates to Aclara RF metering infrastructure

Aclara, a supplier of smart infrastructure solutions to utilities, says more electric utilities are migrating to its Aclara RF electric point-to-multipoint advanced metering infrastructure network technology.

The city of Dothan, Ala., has implemented an Aclara RF advanced metering infrastructure solution to handle the city’s water and electric smart infrastructure requirements.

Utilties are deploying Aclara RF network technology because of its ability to serve as a common network infrastructure for any electric, gas and water utility. In addition, its scalability can satisfy the requirements of any size utility and promote system growth for emerging technologies.

Recent deployments for Aclara RF include Dothan Utility Services, Ala.; San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Calif.; Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, Texas; city of Kennett, Mo.; PenTex Energy, Texas; the city of Andalusia, Ala., Rockwood Electric Utility, Tenn.; and Tupelo Water & Light, Miss. Combination utilities account for over half of the more than 400,000 endpoints served.

“We were looking for a technology partner who not only had broad-based expertise with AMI, but who was also commited to support us with our technical requirements,” said Chris Phillips, electric operations superintendent for the city of Dothan. “Aclara’s RF network met and exceeded all our technical criteria for outage reporting, quick restoration when service goes down, high read rates, remote connect and disconnect capability, and on-the-spot reporting.”

Aclara RF technology integrates with the company’s cellular and power line communications technologies under the AclaraONE software platform. This gives utilities the ability to customize a hybrid network solution and run valuable applications to improve the efficiency, reliability, resiliency and security of their electric distribution networks. What’s more, the integration of Aclara RF technology with devices like Hubbell Power Systems reclosers and capacitor banks now provides utilities with greater visibility into all parts of their distribution networks.

“Selecting the right communication networks for utilities is not only critical for day-to-day reliability needs, but also to ensure operational longevity and support future-proof smart grid investments and critical applications such as distribution automation, distributed energy resources, load control, lighting control and other technologies,” said Allan Connolly, Group President, Hubbell Power Systems (HPS). “The Aclara RF network is gaining momentum in the market because of its unmatched performance, scalability and dependable two-way communications reaching over 99% of endpoints.”

Another important and differentiating feature of the Aclara RF network from other PMP and mesh networks is that it operates on licensed 450-470 MHz radio. This offers several advantages. Signals at this lower frequency propagate better in and around buildings and other obstructions to provide consistently dependable coverage that is ideal for urban, suburban, rural and commercial service areas.