AMI in Concord city

In the US, AMI company Vision Metering this week announced a US$2.9m order from the city of Concord for the supply of smart meters.Vision Metering will provide the City of Concord’s electricity department with 30,000 smart meters utilising NexGrid communication software, the company told Metering & Smart Energy International.

Polyphase smart meters and related infrastructure will be deployed by the city’s electricity department from Q2 2016 and is expected to last for 12 months.

The city utility is using installation company Nexgen USA to deploy singlephase residential smart meters.

Commenting on the deal, Bob Pate, director of Concord Electric Department, said: "Good customer service starts at the meter. With NexGrid and Vision combined, this combined AMI platform can take our customer service to the next level."

Vision Metering claims the AMI system will improve the utility’s grid and customer service by allowing home and business owners access to customer portals and the ability to track their energy usage.

Concord smart meter pilot

Vision Metering said Concord chose its meters following a NexGrid smart meter pilot of approximately 200 Vision and GE branded meters in January 2014.

The company said that during the 24 months that the pilot ran, Concord analyzed the performance of the meters and the AMI system as a whole.

The city was pleased with the NexGrid software functionality and decided to go with 100% Vision meters in their deployment.

Brittany Lawrence, regional sales manager at Vision Metering, said this was for two reasons. "Vision meters come fully loaded at a standard price, there are no upgrades or 'soft keys' to purchase.

"Being a smaller company, our sales staff are also easily accessible and we are flexible when it comes to custom requests from customers."

Smart meter data communication

The NexGrid system uses Zigbee and Wifi meshes with meter endpoints communicating to one another via a Zigbee mesh, which is dynamic and self-healing.

Data does not communicates back through the electric meter, instead gas and water modules can communicate directly to the repeater or collector.

The repeaters/collectors called EcoNets form a Wifi mesh that the company claims is also dynamic and self-healing.