AMI smart meter manufacturers
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AMI for Africa; Chicago judge backs smart meter installation
Delta is launching its new meter-agnostic AMI system as well as a retrofit transformer module at a trade event in Johannesburg this week

In smart meter product news, US smart grid company Delta Energy & Communications has launched an advanced metering infrastructure system this week at a trade event in South Africa.

The California-based company's Intelligent AMI product is a 2.4GHz architecture that claims better meter reading efficiency, as well as revenue cycle process and management.

The system is meter-agnostic and can be deployed across large or small geographical areas, the company said in a statement.

Delta will also unveil its Intelligent Transformer Modules this week, a retro-fittable transformer module that delivers real-time transformer monitoring.

As a single sensor source, the module fits on pole, pad mount and vault transformers, and is designed to within harsh environments, said the company.

Both products, which are compatible with a distribution analytics platform and can be integrated with existing infrastructure, are being targeted at Sub-Saharan Africa, said Scott Foster, CEO of Delta Energy & Communications.

Mr Foster commented: “Most utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa are working on decades old infrastructures.

“The cloud and solutions that leverage it, like the Delta Smart Grid Network, make it possible for them to unlock a wealth of information that can lower operational costs and maximize investments in the region – all with low initial implementation costs.”

Legal battle over smart meter

Meanwhile, in other smart meters news, a US federal judge in Cook County, in the state of Illinois, has ruled that the installation of smart electric meters by a city-owned utility does not amount to a violation of a homeowner’s constitutional rights against warrantless search, no matter how much data the meters might collect or transmit about a homeowner’s electrical use.

In what will be seen as a test case for other US utilities, US District Judge John Z. Lee in a Federal court in Chicago, rejected the argument brought by a grassroots group opposed to the installation of smart electrical meters in west suburban Naperville that the meters pose risks to privacy and health, local legal publication The Cook County Record reports.

In January 2012, the Naperville Department of Public Utilities began a rollout of smart meters with the ability to read consumer consumption data every 15 minutes.

Naperville Smart Meter Awareness (NSMA) filed a complaint contending that recording electrical usage every 15 minutes can reveal “intimate details about the personal lives and living habits of NSMA members,” such as when they are away from home or sleeping, as well as when they are using different appliances.

NSMA alleged the city’s collection of smart meter data is an unreasonable search, violating the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and is an unreasonable search and invasion of privacy, violating the Illinois Constitution.

Judge Lee stated that NSMA has not shown the city is using, or plausibly would use, the information so collected in a way that would constitute an unreasonable search or privacy invasion, under either the Fourth Amendment or the Illinois Constitution.

He commented: “NSMA incorrectly equates possibility with plausibility.

“NSMA’s attempt to hinge a Fourth Amendment claim on theoretic possibilities without presenting any allegations about what the City is actually doing with the data is futile.”