AIMetering System Performs Well in Duke Energy AMR Trial
Duke Power`s AMR committee is pleased with the results of a one-year pilot of the AIMetering system and will recommend that an increased percentage of hard-to-read meters system-wide be automated using telephone inbound technology. The AIMetering system trial is part of a larger trial evaluation of three different AMR technologies.
“We have had good success with the data collection modules,” said Paul Smith, Duke`s AMR project manager. “Once customers were contacted and appointments scheduled, the installation of the system was a lot easier than I had anticipated.”
The multi-product pilot tested a combination of hand-held radio devices, powerline carrier modules and the AIMetering system in the Winston-Salem metropolitan area. One thousand American Innovations residential data collection devices were ordered for the pilot and approximately 80 percent of the modules have been installed. Targeted customers were selected by the utility from the hardest-to-read segment of its over 1.8 million customers.
“We chose the Winston-Salem area for the pilot,” Smith said, “because it`s a medium size area with a good mix of metropolitan and rural metering situations. We wanted to try everything commercially available to eliminate hard-to-read meters. There isn`t one AMR technology that will meet all your needs.”
Targeted customers` initial notification consisted of letters and door hangers. Recently Duke has switched to using telephone representatives to contact customers and set installation appointments.
“The targeted customers have been very responsive to the offer of the new service,” said Smith. “They`ve been very easy to work with and are very happy to have a solution to what they see as a problem: allowing us on their property. We`re happy to have a solution to our problem of gaining access to the meters. It`s working out to be a good solution for both of us.”