AMI & Smart Grid Special Section


Future-Proof Your AMI/Smart Grid with Metrum’s High-Bandwidth, IP to the Endpoint Connectivity


Metrum Technologies is a leading developer and supplier of highly-functional, integrated wireless communications networks and products that provide direct IP connectivity to utility assets. Today our solutions are used for a wide variety of applications that contribute to more intelligent and efficient energy distribution systems for: C&I and Residential Meter Automation, AMI, Real-Time Data Feeds, Demand Response, Distribution Automation, Load and Voltage Monitoring, Load Survey, and remote device control.

Metrum’s IP over wireless solutions work with the nationwide, Metrum network of over 60 carriers and require no new network infrastructure, propagation studies or density thresholds. High bandwidth, managed connectivity provides the flexibility to configure each endpoint or class of endpoint as required to meet your current and future AMI/Smart Grid objectives.


True Scalability – Deploy One Device or Thousands without Sacrificing Functionality


The Metrum suite of IP to the endpoint solutions can be implemented with 100% scalability allowing utilities to deploy strategically, target support of best return initiatives, and maximize ROI. A utility can deploy from one to thousands of endpoints without the need for redirecting and assembling project teams. Metrum endpoints are truly “plug-n-play” saving time and money during the evaluation and testing stage, while virtually eliminating deployment risks.


Success Begins with a Dedicated, Data-Only, Fully-Managed IP-Over-Wireless Network


Metrum Technologies recently introduced the first dedicated, data-only, IP-over-wireless communications network specifically designed for AMI/Smart Grid data applications. Metrum’s high-speed, data-only network provides IP connectivity to every endpoint, the nationwide coverage of over 60 CDMA carriers, dynamic selection of best signal, two-way communications, and full device and network monitoring and diagnostics.

With Metrum’s AEC feature (Advanced Endpoint Communications), you are assured of leaving no data device capability inaccessible. The Metrum Wireless Network supports a wide range of applications features, including: full meter data and load profile availability, on demand connectivity, remote connect/disconnect, power outage notification, pre-payment, DNP 3.0 and MODUBUS protocol support, remote programming, over-the-air firmware maintenance, device status reporting, real-time data feeds from any endpoint, and the ability to dynamically configure any endpoint. The secure, private network is managed 24/7 by Metrum Technologies and its partners. The coverage and functionality offered by the Metrum Wireless Network provides utilities with a highly functional and future-proof option for communications to support AMI and Smart Grid Initiatives both today and tomorrow.


Why Spend a Fortune on New Infrastructure When You can Leverage the Billions of Dollars of Infrastructure that is Already in Place?


Metrum’s advanced, two-way, IP to the endpoint technology leverages the billions of dollars that have been spent, and will continue to be spent by the wireless carriers to build and support their secure, high speed, wireless network infrastructure. Metrum solutions work over all major CDMA and GPRS carrier networks. That means our systems are not only supported by Metrum, but also by cellular companies that invest tremendous resources every year to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their network technology.


The Metrum Difference


Metrum Technologies has developed a comprehensive, open standard, “IP to Every Endpoint” communications technology and managed network solutions that are the foundation of any effective AMI/Smart Grid system. Enhanced solutions offered by Metrum feature the unparalleled flexibility to dynamically customize and configure communications and data acquisition to support: time based rates, dynamic pricing, demand response, price signals, load shedding compliance, direct load control, remote disconnect/reconnect, integrated thermostat control, customer interface, real-time data, service monitoring, and other current and future AMI/Smart Grid functionality.

Metrum endpoints support ZigBee, are available as integrated modules on the Landis+Gyr family of meters, and feature the ability to fully leverage all meter capabilities.

Metrum Technologies
315 S. University Parks Drive “- Waco, Texas 76701
1-254-752-7300 “- Email:





Aclara AMR units still going strong after 25 years on their original batteries


By Sol Jacobs, Tadiran Batteries

Twenty-five years ago, Aclaraà¢â€ž- (formerly Hexagram,Inc.) began installing hundreds of thousands of battery-powered automatic meter reading (AMR) devices for the utility market. Powered by a single Tadiran TL-2100 AA-size lithium thionyl chloride battery, virtually all of these decades-old AMR devices are still operating on their original battery, with laboratory confirming that they had retained nearly 25% of their original capacity.

Aclara has since introduced a newer generation of STAR® Network wireless fixed-network AMR systems using an upgraded Tadiran TL-4903 “XOL” (eXtended Operating Life) AA-size lithium thionyl battery, which features 33% higher capacity (2.4AH vs. 1.8 AH) and lower self-discharge than the TL-2100 battery. Aclara selected the TL-4903 battery based on superior performance characteristics, including higher energy density, higher capacity, a temperature range of 55ºC to +125ºC., and 20+ year service life.


Longevity leads to profitability


STAR network meter transmitter units (MTUs) are capable of providing multiple daily readings using narrow-band radio frequency to communicate with data collection units (DCUs) strategically positioned on buildings or utility poles located approximately 1 to 2 miles apart. These units combine intelligent energy-saving design with advanced lithium thionyl chloride battery chemistry to deliver proven 20-year service life. To conserve energy, STAR MTUs do not employ a receiver to listen for a “wake-up” transmission. Instead, a timer initiates data transmission at programmed intervals. Use of one-way transmission also results in a less complex, lower cost system.

The life cycle savings that can be achieved with a 20+ year AMR unit are substantial compared to a unit with an expected service life of 7 to 10 years, as cost savings begin to accrue in year 7 and continue throughout the 20-year product life cycle. For example, a utility with 5,000 service connections could realize up to $200,000 in total cost savings over a ten year period by eliminating all battery changeouts during that 10-year period, assuming that the cost of each battery changeout is approximately $40 per site. If a second round of battery changeouts were eliminated over a 20-year period, the potential $400,000 in savings could be achieved for every 5,000 service connections. These savings would be above and beyond the labor savings associated with eliminating visual meter reading.


Lithium batteries are not created equal


Through comparative analysis, Aclara confirmed that lithium thionyl chloride batteries are not created alike, as they performed comprehensive in-house and independent tests on competing battery technologies claiming to offer equivalent battery performance, but to date have not qualified any other brand because none could match the quality of construction and electrolyte purity of Tadiran batteries.

The performance of a lithium thionyl chloride cell can vary based on the self-discharge rate, which is governed by the chemical composition of the electrolyte, the manufacturing processes used, as well as mechanical and environmental considerations. Self-discharge can be negatively affected by high levels of impurities in the electrolyte. Extreme temperatures can also reduce battery performance by affecting voltage and self-discharge rate.

Battery performance can be further hindered by impedance, which results from the internal resistance created by the electrolyte, the anode, and the cathode. Tadiran controls impedance by blending special additives into the electrolyte. Tadiran also employs fully automated manufacturing techniques to ensure unparalleled lot-to-lot consistency in large volume production. Product quality is further verified by ISO-9001:2000 certified quality systems, including fully documented and verifiable test results for parameters such as battery pulse, low-temperature pulses, discharge and repeatability

Aclara’s remarkable feat of 25+ year service life demonstrates the synergistic possibilities of combining innovative product design combined with advanced lithium battery technology to achieve higher ROI by reducing the total cost of ownership.




Critical Software for Smart Grid Deployment Vendors and Utilities


Clevest’s Smart Grid Deployment and Maintenance Software is in use by leading AMI Deployment and Technology Vendors around the world. Here’s why:

  • Exchange 21% more meters per day
  • Eliminate 91% of preventable data errors
  • Achieve 35% improvement in route optimization



Clevest can bring the same results to your deployment!



VSI Meter Services and Alliant Energy


VSI Meter Services is using Clevest software to support their workforce on AMI deployment projects, including Alliant Energy where over 1.5M electric and gas Sensus AMI meters are being in¬stalled. VSI is using ruggedized Intermec devices powered by Clevest to provide orders and order changes to the field in real time. VSI is also leveraging barcode scan¬ning, and photo attachment features for data capture and tracking of inventory. Validation rules have eliminated billing issues by preventing errors in the field and flagging incorrect data originating in the CIS. The Clevest system took 42 days from contract award to go-live which included device procurement, interface to CIS development, and workflow definition.


Landis & Gyr, Texas Meter and Device and Austin Energy


Landis & Gyr, a leading AMI hardware manufacturer, and deployment vendor Texas Meter and Device, are using Clevest software to successfully deploy AMI meters for Austin Energy – the 9th largest publicly owned utility in the US.

Landis & Gyr relied on Genesis, a Clevest software con¬figuration tool, to quickly tailor the application according to the needs of the project. Within 3 days, not only was the system up and running, but was completely config¬ured to meet Landis & Gyr specifications for screens, workflow, and validations and checks. Clevest’s Smart Grid Deployment and Maintenance Software enabled Austin Energy and to experience a smooth transition and support customer satisfaction. Clevest provides Life Support Management, scheduling for appointments and skips, and blackout windows that ensure meters can be exchanged without impacting billing cycles.


Scope Services, PEPCO, CLECO and Umatilla Electric


Scope Services has selected Clevest software to automate their workforce on projects ranging from meter exchange programs, meter reprogramming, to AMI deployments. The flexibility of Clevest’s mobile applications enables Scope Services to optimize field work through a variety of de¬vices, including Intermecs, Psions, and ruggedized cell phones. Clevest supported Scope Services’ PEPCO meter exchange program by producing an interface to the existing CIS system within one day; while the CLECO meter reprogramming project only took 10 days to reach go-live. Extending the benefits experienced from their AMI deployment though Scope Services, Umatilla has chosen to automate their field workers with Clevest’s mobile workforce management suite.

Contact us for a web demo of Clevest’s Smart Grid Deployment & Maintenance Software, and learn about Clevest’s complete suite of mobile workforce management solutions. Visit, or call 1-866-915-0088.


Nine of Ontario’s Largest Utilities to Deploy the Sensus FlexNet Solution to Help Drive Smart Grid Initiatives and Improve Customer Satisfaction


35 Ontario Utilities Select Sensus for Best AMI Solution for 1.2M Regional Endpoints

More than half of all utilities participating in the ongoing London Hydro Smart Meter Consortium Project, comprising 1.2 million of the overall 1.8 million meters represented, will soon be using the Sensus FlexNetà¢â€ž- solution to service their customers.

The Sensus FlexNet system delivers timely and accurate AMI communications through crystal-clear and massively redundant RF data paths with double the power of competing systems. This empowers utilities to communicate with a complete range of endpoint devices including smart meters, intelligent home devices, and distribution automation equipment located in both rural and urban areas.

“The Sensus FlexNet solution delivers the technology required to serve the diverse topographic, geographic, and demographic variables within our service territory, which ranges from dense urban to remote rural,” said Wilfred Meston, Manager of Operations for Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro Inc. “Its two-way capability provides the demand response, hourly interval data, and dynamic pricing plans envisioned by our consortium utilities and the Ontario government. We also believe that FlexNet has the power and flexibility for future advanced Smart Grid applications that will benefit both our day-to-day operations and our customers,” added Meston.

Sensus was rated as the “best AMI solution” among 16 of the participating vendors, in part because the solution provides the greatest technical merit per invested dollar. In this second phase of Ontario’s Smart Meter Implementation Program, sponsored by London Hydro, the Consortium membership evaluated the technical merit, most likely life-cycle system cost, and other factors as overseen by the Ontario Government Fairness Commissioner.

“Ontario is an incredibly progressive region in the utility industry, and has embarked on innovative Smart Grid projects,” said Bill Yeates, Executive Vice President of Conservation Solutions at Sensus. “With FlexNet, Sensus is able to keep in step with this aggressive pace by providing a single technology solution that reduces cost, mitigates technology risk, enables pricing flexibility and demand response, and improves operational efficiency.”

Sensus was chosen as the Smart Metering AMI provider by 9 of the 12 largest Ontario utilities, which represent endpoints ranging from 5,000 to 325,000. Some of the utilities and/or buying consortiums that will depend on solutions from Sensus include: Niagara Erie Power Alliance, District 9, Cornerstone Hydro Electric Coalition, PowerStream, Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge. Sensus and representatives from the buying consortiums and/or individual utilities will now meet to sign operating agreements to begin deployment of FlexNet throughout the region.

“The FlexNet system possesses the bandwidth that we require to support our short and long-term Smart Grid initiatives,” said Gary Rains, Director of Network Planning for London Hydro. “We have aggressive plans to implement a smart metering program, and the Sensus product gives us the foundation to be successful.”

As part of the request for proposals process, all utilities participating in the London Hydro Phase II project assigned specific weighting factors to their individual technical requirements, supplied meter population data, and provided utility-specific cost and productivity factors. Secondly, an unbiased scoring procedure then weighted the raw data to derive a “life-cycle system cost” for each participating vendor. Finally, miscellaneous factors, such as experience and customer satisfaction, were also examined. The end result provided a compilation of all scoring factors, and determined the greatest technical merit per invested dollar, or “best value” AMI vendor.

“Sensus understands that with success comes responsibility, and that’s why we recently established a Conservation Solutions office in Aurora, Ontario, where our engineers, project management, and technical support staff will base their operations in support of our customers,” added Yeates.


Aclara Intelligent Infrastructure Solutions Offer Utilities Smart Grid Choices


Aclara understands that information is the key to a successful utility network. Our Intelligent Infrastructureà¢â€ž- solutions are designed specifically to meet the wide-ranging requirements of utilities world-wide. No over-hyped vendor promises, Aclara provides results.

We offer scalable advanced metering infrastructure, meter-data management, and customer presentment solutions that prove themselves everyday for over 500 utility customers. Aclara delivers cutting-edge technologies for load control, demand response, home-area networking, and data analysis, painlessly helping utilities reduce power use, deploy critical-peak pricing, implement time-of-use rates, and decrease the carbon footprint. Aclara anticipates the data utilities require to meet customers’ needs.


Our solutions include:

  • The Aclara STAR® Network system, which delivers robust data communications on secure, licensed radio frequencies. The STAR network system is a wireless fixed network that efficiently and automatically provides timely data, empowering utilities to maximize meter functionality and provide superior customer service. The STAR network system provides accurate and timely billing and high/low consumption reporting — all at a low system cost with manageable operating expenses.
  • The Aclara Two-Way Automatic Communications System (TWACS®) technology is a proven, fixed-network solution that uses patented technology to transmit data over power lines. Aclara TWACS Technology offers two-way communication to electric meters and provides for timely billing, load control, demand response, and outage detection and assessment. With the system, utilities can effectively manage customer data and reduce costs while enabling innovation and providing superior customer service.
  • Aclara Softwareà¢â€ž- applications provide utilities with value-added software solutions that unlock the power of AMI systems and underlying billing and metering data to deliver benefits to the utility and customers alike. Our software solutions are used by more than 100 major organizations worldwide to allow customers to comprehend their bills, manage costs, and conserve resources. Aclara Software solutions are the best choice for understanding meter data…


A choice for both the large and small utilities, Aclara solutions provide a solid foundation to build metering solutions and beyond. We are revolutionizing advanced metering infrastructure with innovative solutions that build on our 20- year history of excellence.

Aclara solutions do more than collect data, they are driving a future that integrates AMI, SCADA, distribution automation, and more into an Intelligent Infrastructure that can both communicate and control. With the strength of our solutions we are changing the way utilities look at their networks. Aclara understands the vision of an integrated utility ecosystem and our Intelligent Infrastructure solutions will make it a reality.

Contact Aclara today for the tools, the innovation, and the knowledge to meet your utility communication needs for today and tomorrow. 800.297.2728 945 Hornet Drive, Hazelwood, MO 63042


Elster’s EnergyAxis System: Unifying Solutions for the Smart Grid


Selecting the right technology to fulfill an overall smart grid vision is a critical decision that will affect utility performance and operations for many years. The impact will be felt in power grid reliability and resiliency, supply adequacy, customer satisfaction, and likely, shareholder and financial market value.

The financial magnitude of the smart grid decision, along with the operational and organizational ramifications, warrants careful deliberation by utilities. Is the investment prudent? Is it being made with a clear understanding of the underlying technology and potential limitations? Do these assets create the best value for ratepayers and shareholders? Have these solutions been deployed at other utilities with demonstrated success? And, will the assets be flexible enough to meet future business needs?

The foundation for most smart grid investments begins with a communications network provided by an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system. Bridging application level standards, end-to-end security, multiple communication protocols (including IP), and common interfaces to utility enterprise applications, Elster’s EnergyAxis System delivers a unifying system solution for the smart grid.

Elster’s EnergyAxis also provides an industry-proven, commercially deployable system with an architectural flexibility to adapt to the future needs of the utility industry. Robust engineering coupled with real-world experience and continual technological advances put EnergyAxis in a class well ahead of other similar solutions.

EnergyAxis has been designed for stand-alone, or combination, electric, gas and water utilities of all sizes, topographies, densities, growth rates and budgets. Its layered architecture also provides wireless connectivity for virtually any smart grid device and can deliver usage and utility operational data to it utility enterprise systems through a variety of private and public communications technologies.


Engineered for the Smart


Grid Security

 Data security and integrity is critical for a smart grid to operate reliably. Elster has implemented stringent security features into every aspect of EnergyAxis—the end devices, the wireless communications network through AES encryption, the gatekeepers and the EnergyAxis Management System.


Distribution Grid Operations


One of the greatest value-added features of the EnergyAxis System is that it has been designed to provide comprehensive support for outage management and grid reliability initiatives—imperative for smart grid operational savings. Elster is also collaborating with utilities and industry partners to develop and deliver many new smart grid applications that deliver key benefits to utilities and their consumers.


Distributed Intelligence


As utilities implement smart grids, traditional command and control approaches are giving way to distributed decision making and control. EnergyAxis’ Distributed Intelligence capabilities push applications into the network, streamlining network management and enabling higher functionality, increased capacity and greater system reliability.


Consumer Facing Solutions


EnergyAxis has been architected to support a wide variety of consumer-focused solutions, including demand response through home-area networks and load control; distributed generation, and eventually, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles. As these technologies continue to mature, Elster will be at the forefront of delivering workable, real-world solutions to utilities and their consumers.




For the smart grid to be truly smart, it must be more than a communications link with devices. The smart grid requires distributed intelligence executing many applications in near real time. The technology and interfaces need to truly be interoperable and business relationships need to make sense so a solution is sustainable.

Elster is the right partner for utilities looking to deploy a smart grid system with proven system experience, has a heritage in technology innovation and the financial strength to provide world-class solutions and advanced technologies to help utilities more easily, efficiently and reliably implement their vision of the smart grid.


Faster Deployment of Smart Meters: A Solution Offered by AT&T and SmartSynch


AT&T recently announced a new alternative for electric utility companies looking to provide the benefits of smart grid technology to the residential sector. AT&T and SmartSynch are for the first time providing utilities with a cost-effective solution by combining a new suite of service plans from AT&T designed specifically for machine to machine (M2M) communications with SmartSynch’s smart grid solutions already deployed at more than 100 utilities throughout North America.

With this new solution from AT&T and SmartSynch, electric utility companies will now be able to concentrate on efficient electricity delivery rather than being distracted by building, maintaining, expanding and upgrading a private communications network. This new solution offers a cost-effective point-to-point configuration model in which each meter communicates directly with the utility over the AT&T wireless network.

Smart grids combine “smart meters”, wireless technology, sensors and software so customers and utilities can closely monitor energy use and cut back when the availability of electricity is stretched to its limit. The IP-based smart grid model ultimately helps consumers understand the economics of their consumption patterns so they can make intelligent decisions about their power consumption. The smart grid technology will also help to enhance reliability and energy efficiency, lower power-line losses and provide utilities with the ability to remotely automate service, providing cost-savings for consumers.

Key benefits of the point-to-point smart meter solution to utility companies include:

  • improved speed of deployment over traditional meshed networks
  • the simplicity of an open standard, IP-based network
  • the ability to communicate directly with each meter.


“Utilities throughout the U.S. face tremendous challenges to increase renewable energy sources and efficiency, as well as manage new applications, which place new complexities on an already complex system,” said Chris Hill, vice president, mobility product management, AT&T Business Solutions. “To meet these changing demands in support of the recent economic stimulus bill, AT&T and SmartSynch are offering this new solution to help the industry migrate to smart grids.”

Stephen Johnston, chief executive officer, SmartSynch, said: “The decision to work with AT&T on this initiative was clear, based on its network reliability and strong legacy in understanding the needs of business customers and servicing those needs. Together we are providing a cost-effective alternative to private networks, which is shifting the smart-metering landscape for the good of the entire utilities industry.”

Point-to-point communications with meters is just one of many technologies that AT&T supports as part of its smart grid initiative. AT&T offers a range of strategic mobility products and services to the utility industry, including wireless solutions for field service workers, outage detection and remote monitoring. AT&T’s dedicated team of industry specialists understands the business process from end to end and translates technical solutions into meaningful business value for customers.

Over the last decade, AT&T has invested significant resources in implementing security features on its global network and best practices that comply with national and international standards. AT&T has employed such practices in order to help secure network resources, data centers and customer facing network interfaces, in line with many of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) recommendations. In addition, AT&T offers security management services and business continuity and disaster recovery services which can also help utilities comply with NERC CIP recommendations.

SmartSynch has been the leading provider of IP-based smart grid solutions utilizing public wireless networks since the introduction of its first SmartMeterà¢â€ž- in 2000. SmartSynch’s smart grid solutions are fully certified to deliver smart grid data on AT&T’s wireless network, enabling quicker, easier, more scalable and strategic smart meter deployments for utilities.

For more information about this solution, contact Rita Mix, AT&T Sr. Marketing Manager-Utilities, 404-499-5214,

For more information on SmartSynch’s smart grid infrastructure offerings, visit


Metering Systems, Services & Technologies Companies



Advanced AMR Technologies |

AR Receiver Systems |

Arga Controls |

Austin International |

AW Sperry Instruments |

Badger Meter |

Basler Electric Co. |

Brooks Utility Product Group | (SEE PAGE 57)

Brunelle Instruments |

Clevest | (SEE PAGES 46 & 47)

Comverge | (SEE PAGE 7)

Datamatic |

Dranetz-BMI |

Electro Industries/GaugeTech |

Elspec North America |


Emerson Process Management |

E-Mon LLC |

Fluke Corp |

GE Energy |

HD Electric Co |

Hersey Meters |

Itron | (SEE PAGES 50 & 51)

Landis + Gyr | (SEE PAGES 44 & 45)

Master Meter |

McCrometer Inc |

Metrum Technologies | (SEE PAGES 40 AND 41)

Mincom |

Olameter |


Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories | (SEE PAGE 1)

Sensus | (SEE PAGES 48 & 49)

Signalcrafters Tech Inc |

SmartSynch | (SEE PAGE 59 & BACK COVER)

Tadiran Batteries | (SEE PAGES 42 & 43)

Tantalus Systems |

Telvent | (SEE PAGE 13)

Weschler Instruments |



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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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