Arlington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- MARCH 28, 2013 - The Smart Grid Alliance for the Americas led by NRECA International and cooperative utilities in Latin America has been awarded ‘Expansion’ status by the U.S. State Department.

Under the expansion, the Alliance will focus on technical assistance for partner utilities. Plans include increasing partner discussions, information exchanges, and mentoring to encourage peer-to-peer networking. NRECA will also work with the Alliance members to facilitate knowledge transfer to overcome any technical challenges faced in ongoing projects.

The Alliance was established last year to share experience and provide technical assistance in applications of smart grid technology to cooperative, municipal and other small electric distribution utilities in Latin America. Given the multiple smart grid projects that have been implemented through the NRECA Cooperative Research Network program in the United States, the team has extensive experience with a wide variety of communication challenges and solutions.

The expansion also includes an additional partner, bringing the number of participating utilities to five. These are Cooperativa de Electrificación Rural de San Carlos (Coopelesca) and Cooperativa de Electrificación Rural de Guanacaste (Coopeguanacaste) in Costa Rica, Cooperativa Electrificación y Desenvolvimiento Rural Alto Paraíba (CEDRAP) in Brazil, Cooperativa Eléctrica Paillaco (SOCOEPA) in Chile, and the newest member, Roatan Electric Company (RECO) in Honduras.

After the preparatory work over the last year,in February the contract was awarded to Landis+Gyr to supply its Gridstream advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to the Alliance partners. Each will receive access to Landis+Gyr’s ‘command center’ interface for operating their AMI system along with several hundred meters and the necessary field equipment to communicate with the meters.

Delivery and installation of the meters and field equipment is due to start in April, with system testing over the following two months and system production in late June.