News

Reports Find Steady Growth in AMR Deployments

Two recent reports find continued, steady growth in utility purchases of automatic meter reading (AMR) technology.

The 7th edition of “The Scott Report: AMR Deployments in North America” from Cognyst Consulting concludes that total AMR shipments grew by 18.3 percent from 2001 to 2002 (see graph), and that more new units were shipped to electric utilities than to water and gas utilities combined. According to data from The Scott Report, the number of AMR units shipped in North America has grown for four straight years, from approximately 4.1 million units in 1998 to 9.5 million units in 2002.

Howard Scott, editor of The Scott Report, said his findings provide evidence that the utility marketplace continues to embrace AMR as a useful technology.

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“With an unprecedented fourth consecutive year of deployment growth, it is clear that vendors are offering solutions that meet the demanding customer service and operational needs of a broad variety of electric, gas and water utilities,” Scott said.

Information from Chartwell Inc.’s “AMR Shipments 2003” publication corroborate Scott’s findings. Chartwell found that the 2002 shipments of four leading AMR vendors—Itron, SchlumbergerSema, Distribution Control Systems Inc. and Hunt Technologies, rose 19.2 percent.

Utility Automation Unveils Projects of the Year Awards

Utility Automation magazine has announced a new series of awards to honor innovative, useful projects undertaken on the transmission and distribution side of the electric power industry.

The Utility Automation Projects of the Year Awards honor the most innovative T&D technology implementations and engineering projects completed within the last year. Awards will be presented in four categories: T&D Automation Project of the Year, AMR Project of the Year, Geospatial Project of the Year and Non-automated T&D Engineering Project of the Year.

Electric power utilities (including IOUs, electric cooperatives and municipal utilities), federal power agencies, RTOs, ISOs, and other T&D owning/operating entities are eligible for the awards, but any interested party may submit a nomination. Award-winning utilities will be honored in the pages of Utility Automation magazine and during the DistribuTECH 2004 conference.

Nominations for Projects of the Year are due Sept. 15. See Page 38 for the official entry form and full details.

BPA Approves Transmission Project

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has officially decided to build the Schultz-Hanford area 500-kV transmission line project, a 64-mile line in central Washington state between a substation north of Ellensburg and a new substation southwest of Hanford.

The decision, signed by BPA Administrator Steve Wright, approves the second transmission line construction project under the agency’s infrastructure expansion program to relieve congested transmission paths in the region. The first project approved was the Grand Coulee-Bell 500-kV transmission line project, an 84-mile line connecting Spokane with Grand Coulee, Wash.

“This project (the Schultz-Hanford project) can give us a 600-megawatt boost in our capability to move power through a highly congested part of the region’s transmission grid north of Hanford,” project manger Lou Driessen said. “It will also help move power along the Interstate-5 corridor during spring and summer months when power flows are high from Canada and the dams on the upper Columbia River.”

Construction could start by mid-April on a new substation called Wautoma Substation, which will be built south of Priest Rapids Dam. Work on the new 500-kV line will begin in May. All work should be completed by spring 2005. The construction cost of approximately $110 million is financed by BPA and will be paid through BPA sales of transmission services.

Most of the new line would parallel existing transmission lines in a new, wider corridor. About nine miles of the project would rebuild an existing line to higher capacity.

Contract Awards and Extensions

New York ISO has awarded a contract to ABB to install a SCADA/EMS and enhance the market operation system. The contract is valued at $20 million, exclusive of hardware. The system is scheduled to be installed for trials beginning in November, with full operation slated for April 2004.

ALSTOM has won two recent contracts to supply its Static Var Compensator (SVC) technology: one to Xcel Energy to stabilize Xcel’s network in southwestern Minnesota and improve transmission to users, and the other to Manitoba Hydro to enhance transmission capabilities from Northern Manitoba, Canada.

MiniMax Corp. recently announced separate contracts in which Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative in Virginia, Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative in New Mexico, Cuivre River Electric Cooperative in Missouri, Mountain Parks Electric Inc. in Colorado, and Crow Wing Power in Minnesota will implement MiniMax’s StakeOut work order automation system.

Open Systems International (OSI) was recently awarded a contract to supply a SCADA/EMS and ERCOT Market Operation System for the City of Garland, Texas, based on OSI’s monarch architecture.

The City of Palo Alto, Calif., has signed a contract with Planergy International for an enhanced meter reading services pilot program for Palo Alto business customers. Selected customers will have each day’s electric or gas consumption posted to a secure website for analysis.

OSI also recently announced a contract to supply a state-of-the-art SCADA system to Kissimmee Utility Authority in Florida.

Florida Power & Light Co. has selected Severn Trent Systems’ FieldIT product as their wireless mobile work management system for construction and service order work. The system will benefit FP&L’s Power Systems Unit, which is responsible for the transmission and distribution network.

Missouri-based municipally owned utility Independence Power & Light has chosen MeterSmart to provide interval data collection and Internet-based information services that will be offered by the utility on a trial basis to four IPL commercial and industrial customers.

Alliances, Mergers and Acquisitions

Bow Networks and OSIsoft have announced a partnership that will enable customers of OSIsoft’s PI System and Bow Networks eLAN platform with increased access to data within a wide range of relays, RTUs and other IEDs.

Personnel Changes and Promotions

W. Marie Zanavich has been elected information technology vice president and CIO by New Haven, Conn.-based distribution utility United Illuminating Co.

Don Hall, CES International industry product manager, has been named co-chair of the IEEE Power Engineering Society’s task force on Distribution Outage Reporting Practices.

Hannu Huhdanpaa, CES International product development manager, has been named a member of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s Technical Committee 57, Working Group 14, which develops standards for application-to-application and business-to-business integration for electric utilities.

Two DistribuTECH Conference advisory committee members, John McDonald and Anil Pahwa were recently honored as Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). McDonald, a senior principal consultant and manager of automation, reliability and asset management with KEMA Inc., was honored for technical leadership in the development of substation integration and automation. Pahwa, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Kansas State University, was honored for contributions to power distribution system automation and restoration.

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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 Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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