AMRA News - AMRA'S trials & installations updates

The 2000 Trials & Installations Update reflects a healthy level of activity in the AMR industry as energy utilities continue their trek toward competition and water utilities seek improved efficiencies to offset increasing water-treatment costs. AMRA publishes the annual update each July as a complement to the Trials & Installations Report, printed each January, which includes details about hundreds of ongoing AMR projects around the world.

The 2000 Trials & Installations Update includes only projects launched or significantly altered since January. It provides details about 72 deployments at 71 utilities in North America, South America, Europe and the Pacific Rim, comprising more than 1 million units. Deployments include 31 projects — scheduled to involve nearly 350 000 meter sites when complete — that were announced in the first half of 2000.

Electric utilities report the majority of deployment activity, with 48 projects at 49 utilities involving nearly 670 000 AMR units. However, only three — all of which use power-line communications technologies — are installations of more than 30 000 units. PLC is the technology of choice in 32 electric utility projects involving nearly 600 000 units.

Water utility representatives report 13 projects – 11 installations of 134 000 units and two trials of nearly 5 000 units. Radio is the most popular technology. Combination utilities report six installations of 125 000 units and one trial of 270 units. Two are new and five are expansions. Meanwhile, gas utilities report the least AMR activity, with three installations of nearly 125 000 units and one trial of 150 units.

The high level of activity at electric utilities results in a large number of PLC deployments. Project managers at 33 utilities, about 46% of all update participants, oversee PLC trials and installations comprising more than 600 000 units.

Radio technologies also are prevalent, with utility representatives reporting deployments of 14 walk-by radio systems, six fixed-network radio systems and five mobile-radio systems. These radio projects comprise 403 000 units.

Seven utility representatives report deploying one-way or two-way telephone systems of more than 20 000 units. And seven hybrid systems use various technologies such as PLC, radio, cellular analog, cellular digital and other telephone-based communications capabilities to remotely read more than 30 000 utility meters.