T&D World Magazine

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to Implement Integrated Utility Smart Grid Initiative

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority supplies electricity, water, natural gas, wastewater treatment, and solar power services to homes and businesses throughout the 26,000 square-mile Navajo Nation, which spans northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah. NTUA proposes to lower costs and extend service to the Navajo people by deploying smart grid architecture with an Advanced Metering Infrastructure as a backbone. The Authority is a recipient of a Department of Energy Smart Grid Investment Grant for installation of electricity-related AMI measures.

To date most AMI projects have focused on one aspect of a utility, typically electricity. The NTUA project is unique in that it will employ AMI across electricity, water and gas meters. By employing AMI across all three utility classes, NTUA’s customers will receive an increased positive impact.

Elster will provide its two-way EnergyAxis communication system that will enable NTUA to conduct remote data collection and connect/disconnect with substantially reduced personnel field visits and vehicle emissions, and will offer improvements to its outage response and management process. With EnergyAxis, NTUA also will gain more accurate and efficient billing, allowing it to eliminate its current billing method. For NTUA, advanced router radios operating in a private 900MHz spectrum are being used with hardened routers for gatekeeper communication and data gathering across the extremely rural and widespread service territory.

In addition, OSIsoft, LLC will provide its OSIsoft MDUS product for meter data capture and historical repository storage sent from the EnergyAxis head-end. OSIsoft will also perform meter data integration to SAP for Utilities, extending back-office billing processes and operational efficiencies.

OSIsoft, through its partnership with SAP, ensures that the complexities of an AMI integration are handled today and into the future. OSIsoft will allow NTUA to apply the same infrastructure used for its MDUS for operations across electricity, gas, water and waste water. Implementation will commence before the end of 2010, completing the MDUS rollout in early 2011.

"NTUA is excited about moving forward with implementing its smart grid project. NTUA looks forward to OSIsoft MDUS being able to handle large volumes of real-time data and integrating into NTUA's SAP system," said Srinivasa Venigalla, principal engineer for NTUA's Smart Grid Program.

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