AMRA News - Utilities report deploying more than 10 million AMR units

AMRA’s January 2002 Trials & Installations Report details 148 projects comprising 10.25 million AMR units at 140 utilities. These include 64 new projects comprising nearly 3 million units and 32 expansions that add 300,000 units to ongoing installations. Only 11 trials involve less than 27,000 units.

Utility representatives say they plan to use AMR to boost competitive ability, enhance customer satisfaction and provide services such as outage and tamper detection, load profiling, load management, customised billing, rate-based pricing, distribution automation, and supervisory control and data acquisition.

Four utilities report installations of more than 1 million units:

  • Atlanta Gas Light Co. began in 2001 to install a 1.3 million fixed network and drive-by radio system designed to improve its ability to influence usage patterns and understand customer needs.
  • Northeast Utilities adds 50,000 units to its more than a million unit installation, with another 0.5 million scheduled for deployment in the next two years.
  • PECO Energy Co. expands its fixed network radio system by 100,000 units, with 1.3 million units in the field and another 800,000 planned for deployment in 2002.
  • Puget Sound Energy is building on its successful customer service initiatives enabled by a 1.5 million unit fixed network radio system.

Only nine combination electric/gas utilities reported AMR activities, but four are large-scale projects. Thus, electric/gas utilities take the lead in system deployment, with more than 6 million units in the field or scheduled for installation. Three of the projects use fixed network radio systems, three use power-line communications, one uses dial-inbound, one uses walk-by radio and one uses a hybrid of technologies.

Electric utilities report the majority of deployment activity, with 88 utilities conducting 88 installations of nearly 1.7 million units and 5 trials of more than 14,000 units. However, most of the projects involve fewer than 30,000 units, and only five are installations of more than 100,000 units. The majority of projects (63) rely on PLC technology, 15 use dial-inbound, three use dial-outbound, two use radio technologies, two use fibre, one uses cable and seven use a hybrid of communications technologies.

Gas utilities report the third highest total of AMR units to be deployed, with Atlanta Gas Light’s 1.5-million unit installation comprising the majority of these (1.6 million). Two gas projects use mobile radio, one uses drive-by radio and one uses a combination of radio technologies.

Nearly 1 million AMR units are scheduled for deployment at 31 water utilities. This indicates a surge of interest as 18 deployments (58% of water listings) are newly reported projects. Radio continues to be the technology of choice with 16 using fixed-network, seven using drive-by, four using mobile and two using a combination of radio technologies, while two report non-radio AMR systems, one using a hybrid of technologies and another a joint deployment with a local electric company that uses PLC.

Combination utilities other than electric/gas report 11 projects involving just more than 200,000 units. Three systems use PLC, two use drive-by radio, two use a hybrid of technologies, one uses fixed-network radio, one uses drive-by radio, one uses dial-inbound and one uses satellite.

The January 2002 Trials & Installations Report is a compilation of pilots and installations that occurred in 2001 or are planned for 2002 and beyond. It also provides modifications of unclear or imprecise listings that appeared in the July 2001 Trials & Installations Update. Information on deployments completed before 2001 is available in earlier AMRA reports and updates.