AMRA Proper

A recent AMRA survey querying utility project managers around the world indicates a positive trend of AMR activity, despite challenging economic environments. The 2003 AMRA Trials & Installations Report: A Snapshot of Ongoing Projects From the Utility’s Perspective includes details about AMR deployments at 85 utilities, comprising a total of 18.3 million units already installed or under firm contract.

The report – which highlights a selection of ongoing AMR projects, and is not a cumulative or all-inclusive tally of AMR units in the field – shows that the acceptance, adoption and deployment of AMR technologies is becoming widespread in numerous regions and countries. In fact, the average number of AMR units installed per utility has more than doubled since publication of the January 2002 Trials & Installations Report.

In addition, 67% of project managers who submitted information for the 2003 report say their projects are new. Services they plan to offer through the AMR systems include electronic billing and payment, tamper and theft detection, outage detection, distribution automation, load management, on-demand reads and customised billing.

The highest reported deployment activity is occurring among electric and combination utilities, with 13.4 million units installed at 50 utilities and another 3.4 million units under contract. Meanwhile, the increase in water utility AMR projects, first reported in 2001, continues to gain momentum. More than 830,000 units have been installed recently at 34 water utilities and another 715,000 are under contract.

Though more than two-thirds of electric projects use power-line carrier, radio-frequency technologies and hybrid systems also have met with approval from numerous utility managers.

Of the 85 reported projects, 49.5% use various radio-frequency systems including walk-by radio, drive-by radio and fixed networks; 34% use PLC and 2.5% use telephone technologies. The remaining 14% use hybrid systems that employ at least two of the following technologies: telephone, RF, paging, satellite and CDMA.

Translating those figures into units installed and under contract presents a slightly different picture: 54% of total units use hybrid technologies, 40% use RF, 6% use PLC and 0.03% use telephone.