AMI rollout

The US city of New Bern in North Carolina last week approved a US$5.6m budget for funding phase three of an AMI and demand side management project.The approval means New Bern will install 14,000 smart electric meters, 8,500 water meters and 6,000 load management devices to improve utilities’ grid management and allow consumers to control their water and electric consumption.

According to a Sun Journal publication, the approval places the total funding of the AMI roll out to US$9,05m since launch in 2012.

Since 2012, the city has installed 4,860 units out of 21,700 electric meters, 2,376 smart water meters out of the city’s 15,000 metering points and 1,272 load management switches out of a total of 26,000 in the city’s network.

Jon Rynne, director of utilities, said the load management system is critical as it would save the city US$1.2 million annually in power supply costs from the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA).

Since 2015, the power supply cost to the city from NCEMPA has gone from US$12.56 per kilowatt hour to US$19.35 per kilowatt hour (during the monthly peak demand hour), Metering & Smart Energy International has learnt.

However, the city has so far noticed benefits of the project including customized due dates for billing to accommodate customers, prepaid utility services through remote connections and disconnections that eliminates customer deposits.

AMI rollout in the US

In other AMI news coming out of the US, energy provider ComEd has in mid-November 2015 announced that customers that are enrolled in its Peak Time Savings programme have saved approximately US$400,000 on their electric bills.

ComEd’s Peak Time Savings is a smart-meter enabled programme that rewards customers with credits to their electric bills for lowering electricity usage during peak demand periods.

The programme allows customers to earn a US$1 credit on their electric bills for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity they voluntarily reduce during Peak Time Savings Hours.

Commenting in regard to the aim of the programme, Val Jensen, senior vice president of Customer Operations at ComEd said: “This is another program that leverages the smart meter technology so our customers can reap the value of the investments made to modernize our electrical system”.

In addition to the US$1 consumers earn, ComEd announced five winners of the Peak Time Savings Smart Appliance Challenge and awarded each one of them a smart appliance.

Mr Jensen added ComEd would like to see consumers utilise smart appliances as they allow savings in bills, by offering greater options on energy use, know when electricity prices are cheaper, or reductions are being requested.