Laclede Electric Co-op moves forward with smart grid project

Vancouver, BC, Nov. 5, 2008 — Laclede Electric Co-op announced their decision to fully deploy an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system as the first step in a broader smart grid initiative designed to enhance customer service, improve overall electrical network efficiencies, reduce operating costs, and automate the way energy is monitored and managed.

Laclede distributes energy to 35,000 members located in six south-central Missouri counties. The 1,400 square mile service territory has a variety of population densities including urban, suburban, commercial & industrial and rural areas that span diverse topologies ranging from thickly-forested regions to broad stretches of farmland.

Laclede selected a Tantalus Utility Network (TUNet) because of its flexibility, scalability, and capability to serve as a single communications backbone that supports the full range of smart grid functionality. TUNet uses RF (radio frequency) technology. With the AMI communications network in place, Laclede can prioritize deployment to specific members and/or geographic areas and evolve step-by-step to a complete implementation. TUNet is expandable to incorporate other communications technologies such as fiber should the needs change over time.

Laclede will begin deployment this fall with full implementation expected within 24 months.

The project calls for full change-out of existing electromechanical meters with solid-state Itron CENTRON meters for residential accounts. The utility said this would allow Laclede to accurately monitor consumption, power quality and pinpoint outages by individual meter or in aggregate, either on request or in scheduled intervals. The data they collect will integrate into backend billing, load forecasting and other applications.

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