T&D World Magazine
People’s Energy Cooperative Selects Advanced Metering Infrastructure

People’s Energy Cooperative Selects Advanced Metering Infrastructure

Long range wireless coverage with embedded distributed computing provides affordable migration from power line carrier (PLC) to two-way AMI

People’s Energy Cooperative, an electric cooperative utility in Minnesota with 23,000 members, has selected Tantalus Systems to deploy a state-of-the-art hybrid IP-based network to support advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). People’s Energy is among hundreds of cooperative utilities across the country faced with the imminent need to replace aging power line carrier systems due to increasing data requirements associated with sophisticated energy management applications. The new wireless RF AMI network will leverage best-in-class signal range and unparalleled frequency agility to serve as a powerful platform to support advanced functionality including remote meter disconnects, pro-active outage notification and prepay metering.

Tantalus’ smart grid enterprise platform, TUNet, includes embedded distributed computing capability, utilizing a multi-core, Linux-based operating system with 32MB of memory in every communications module. These modules are field-proven and capable of running parallel processes and simultaneous advanced applications such as load management, CLVR™ (closed loop voltage reduction) and Distribution Automation.

“As a cooperative utility, we hold earnestly to our commitments to adopt innovative energy solutions that enable us to provide reliable and reasonably priced energy services,” said Elaine Garry, President & CEO of People’s Energy Cooperative. Garry continued, “We recently expanded our membership by 50 percent through a historic acquisition of a service territory from an investor-owned utility in Minnesota. This unprecedented influx of new members, along with an aging power line carrier system, further precipitated the need to move ahead in our smart grid strategy.” Michelle Olson, Director of Member Services added, “We decided that by gaining access to more timely and accurate energy data, we could implement operationally efficient applications and provide beneficial energy management tools directly to our membership.”

Tantalus continues to enhance the functionality of its push-based TUNet solution, which can be deployed in a flexible manner to meet varying utility business and operational needs. As an example, TUNet can be deployed as an overlay system for utilities with existing AMR assets, such as PLC or ERT (encoder receiver transmitter) technology which have yet to be fully depreciated. By providing this design flexibility, Tantalus empowers its users to migrate from legacy infrastructure over a scheduled period of time, while also providing immediate access to timely consumption data from existing meters. This approach maximizes the value of historical investments, while providing measurable, ongoing ROI and immediate value across all utility departments.

People’s Energy joins Tantalus’ growing community of users throughout the Midwest region including Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power (IN), Laclede Electric Cooperative (MO), Northeastern REMC (IN) and the City of Cameron (MO). Through these deployments, Tantalus continues to deliver a cost and coverage effective system to the municipal and cooperative utility industry.

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