Automation Awards

Automation Awards

CellNet Data Systems Inc. and Puget Sound Energy Inc. announced a contract under which CellNet will provide network meter reading (NMR) services to approximately 700,000 Puget Sound Energy customers in the Puget Sound area. As a part of the agreement, Puget Sound Energy will provide up to $35 million in financing to fund network deployment. The agreement is subject to satisfactory completion of financing arrangements. Network installation is scheduled to begin in March. The network`s services will also include automatic outage detection, power theft detection, remote switch-on and switch-off and flexible billing.

Consolidated Edison Co., New York, contracted with DocuCorp International to enhance its billing systems. The new system will be more responsive to the demands of a deregulated industry. The document automation platform (DAP) technology generates a variety of billing statement formats and has the ability to support rapid changes in business requirements. DAP technology features electronic archiving that facilitates rapid customer response. It provides special handling capabilities including consolidated, aggregate, pulled, large font and Braille bills.

Itron Inc. announced that it has received a follow-on order from SONTEX S.A., the Swiss distributor of thermal energy meters and heat cost allocators, for the sale of 50,000 Genesis Meter Modules (GMMs). This order doubles the initial order of 50,000 GMMs received from SONTEX in January 1997. The follow-on order will be shipped in 1998. The SONTEX modules were the result of a licensing and distribution agreement between Itron and SONTEX, signed in 1995. SONTEX integrates the modules into their heat meters and heat cost allocators to provide remote meter reading capabilities. SONTEX meters equipped with GMMs are currently being read by Itron`s handheld radio-based AMR solution and are designed to be used with Itron`s fixed network AMR solution as well.

Convergent Group signed a contract with Citizens Utilities Co. as its project manager and systems integrator for full implementation of a geographic information system. Citizens Utilities provides full-service communications, natural gas, electricity and water and wastewater treatment services to 1.75 million customers in 20 states.

Tulsa (Okla.) Metropolitan Utility Board and the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy have approved a $3.5 million bid from Custima International Corp. to supply a new customer information and billing system, and associated hardware, consulting and maintenance services. Custima will handle water, sewer, stormwater and refuse service billing needs for Tulsa`s 136,000 accounts and population of around 500,000.

HTE Inc. signed an agreement with Montana Power to provide an integrated suite of utility software products and services to help MP compete in a deregulated industry. Part of the services include the capacity to monitor and bill for any type of service. HTE`s customer information system software allows automation of a full range of electric, water and gas utility services including customer and location maintenance; processing of bills, delinquencies, penalties, refunds, and write-offs; and meter reading maintenance.

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Automation Awards

Automation Awards

Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution L.L.C. reported that it has received certification from the California Independent System Operator`s (ISO) contractor, Duke Engineering Services, to supply generation meters. Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Black and Veatch (acting on behalf of Pacific Gas & Electric) placed orders. The California ISO is scheduled to begin operating on Jan. 1, 1998, and is expected to require 3,000 new meters to support its operation.

ESRI announced several recent GIS awards: Central Louisiana Electric Co. started an “enterprise” project to expand its existing GIS to serve as the foundation for distribution construction work management, service order dispatching and outage management, in addition to the current AM/FM function support. Penn Fuel Gas Inc. also started an enterprise GIS project combining ESRI`s ARC/INFO software with Miner and Miner`s production application software. United Cities Gas awarded a contract to ESRI and Miner and Miner for a full range of GIS software packages. AlintaFas in Western Australia selected ESRI Australia to supply a gas network information system that will integrate ESRI`s GIS software with SAP`s software for business management.

Convergent Group delivered a computer-aided dispatch/mobile data terminal system to IES Utilities. It will be used by IES dispatchers to automatically assign work, balance workload, dispatch and close orders via computer terminals, using a radio network connection. It required integration of the software for the new system with UNIX file servers, dispatcher workstation PCs, field handheld PCs with radio modems and the public radio system. Convergent says it delivered the system to IES in seven months, faster than the 12 to 24 months typically required for such an installation. Convergent was also selected by Georgia Power Co. to provide data conversion consulting for a distribution customer linkage project.

Advanced Control Systems was awarded a $4 million contract from the Imperial Irrigation District in California for an open-architecture based energy management system and a distribution management system. Advanced Control Systems also announced a $2.5 million contract from the City of Anaheim Public Utilities Department for a SCADA/distribution management system (DMS).

It will integrate automation technologies with the utility`s existing fiber-optics communication system, enabling the exchange of information among system components including operating stations, the SCADA/DMS master, the historical database server and all substations.

American Innovations Ltd. (AI) received an order from Union Rural Electric Cooperative for two pilot installations of its AIMetering System. The system will be used to develop residential load profiles, employ virtual disconnects and reconnects, and offer real-time power outage notification. In another AI project, Southern Development and Investment, a non-regulated subsidiary of the Southern Co., announced its intention to buy 10,000 automatic meter reading modules for a bundled service offering. “Our business plan,” said Cody Chambers, project coordinator for Southern Development, “is to partner with a developer and master meter an entire apartment complex. We use the American Innovations` AIMetering System to submeter each individual apartment and Southern Development acts as billing agent for the developer. We deliver a full range of services; not only power, but water, cable TV, security and high-speed Internet access and we do it all in one bill.”

CellNet Data Systems announced a contract from Indianapolis Power & Light for network meter reading services for the first phase of a project that is expected to extend to 415,000 utility customers. Services will cover both single and polyphase meters and include automatic outage detection, power theft detection, remote switch-on and switch-off electric service, and flexible billing. CellNet also reported successful completion of a 23,000-meter network meter reading project for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). “We`re very pleased with the results of this program,” said Ron Williams, PG&E`s information technology program manager. “Beyond exceeding our performance objectives, we also deployed the meters and network components faster and at a lower cost than we`d originally projected.”

Motorola`s Land Mobile Products Sector (LMPS) announced that Delmarva Power & Light awarded it a $10 million contract to install a wide area, two-way trunked radio communications network to be used for utility voice dispatch functions in transmission, distribution, power restoration and maintenance. It will replace the utility`s existing low band and 800 MHz conventional radio systems. IES Utilities awarded Motorola LMPS a contract for $2.8 million to install a wireless data network operation with a RD-LAP 19.2 Kbps protocol. It includes 54 transmitter antenna sites that cover 70 percent of the state of Iowa. SEMCO Energy Gas Co. has awarded the supplier a contract to install the first phase of a five-phase integrated voice and data digital two-way radio system installation.

Westin Engineering reports that the City of Fort Lauderdale has awarded it a contract to serve as the utility`s water and wastewater automation consulting engineer. The first step will be fast-track implementation of an interim SCADA system and development of an automation master plan.

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