Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative picks Tantalus for AMI deployment

Smart grid communications firm Tantalus said Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative (IREC) picked Tantalus for the design and implementation of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) communications network for its 11,000 member electric cooperative serving ten counties in west central Illinois.

In addition to AMI functionality such as remote meter reading, remote disconnect/reconnect, and voltage monitoring, IREC will also leverage the Tantalus Utility Network to support a measurement, control, and pricing structure tailored for polyphase agricultural irrigation customers.

TUNet’s device addressing capability will be leveraged to provide precise and tightly coordinated real-time monitoring and control of individual or groups of polyphase meters on irrigation equipment. This will enable IREC to incentivize farmers to shed load during peak with reduced energy rates and sophisticated pricing structures at the time of the event rather than waiting until the end of the season.

The granularity and real time nature of data delivery will also ensure that the cooperative will be able to react quickly to peak periods by selectively triggering curtailment events, thereby avoiding disruption to any single farm or crop. IREC will overlay its existing power line carrier (PLC) system with TUNet’s ultra-long range 220 MHz WAN backhaul combined with a terrain hugging 900 MHz LAN. This architecture will serve as a cost effective and high coverage means to deploy two-way communications to far-flung farms and communities over a vast and hilly service territory.

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