Columbia, TN and Raleigh, NC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- July 16, 2010 - City of Columbia electricity, water and broadband utility Columbia Power and Water Systems (CPWS) has selected Elster’s EnergyAxis Smart Grid solution to create an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system that will improve customer service, meter reading and outage management.

The AMI deployment is the first phase of the CPWS smart grid initiative, scheduled to be rolled out over the next five years.

CPWS will deploy approximately 25,000 Elster smart electricity meters and 25,000 smart water meters. EnergyAxis will enable CPWS to enhance its delivery of electricity and water services by increasing meter accuracy, providing additional load data for engineering analysis, reducing water loss, improving responsiveness for restoring unplanned outages and adding customer service offerings such as demand response.

“With the outstanding reliability and performance we saw with the EnergyAxis solution during our testing process, we believe we have found the best smart grid solution to bring maximum benefit to CPWS and its customers,” said Jim Clark, general manager of CPWS.

Four potential AMI vendors were considered from which the EnergyAxis solution was chosen. Subsequently it underwent a 60-day system acceptance test, which involved rigorous analysis of the software and meters at 600 electricity and water locations.

The EnergyAxis solution will provide bi-directional communication between the smart meters and the CPWS home office via the utility's existing wide area network (WAN). Backhaul communications will be conducted over the CPWS broadband fiber optic network or over cellular wireless networks for more remote meter locations. The solution will integrate with the existing WAN, enabling CPWS to perform remote meter readings, improve distribution automation and better manage outages.

Elster will work with supply chain partner WESCO Distribution, Inc. to deliver the smart electricity meters to CPWS.