Chatham-Kent Hydro (Ontario, Canada) has been named the winner of the Utility Planning Network’s 2005/2006 award for best Metering Data Integration Initiative.
Chatham-Kent received top grades in the heavily contested category for its success in helping customers become more astute energy users through smart metering programs. The southern Ontario utility, which serves 35,000 constituents, implemented a method for capturing interval consumption reads from each household and then incorporating detailed hourly usage information into bills and through the web so that customers could see when and how they use energy. The utility reports genuine excitement and support for smart metering. Net reductions on electric heat bills alone could top 6% per participating customer. Administration costs, too, tapered with the average monthly cost of customer service dropping to under $2, 40% of the per-customer cost targeted by other Ontario electric distribution companies for providing service within a smart metering framework."This project proves that smart metering is a strong enabler that encourages consumers to self-regulate and take a more active role in how they use electricity,” says Dave Kenney, president of Chatham-Kent Hydro. “Graphic representation of hour-by-hour energy consumption – whether presented on a hard copy bill or via the web – enables customers to pinpoint usage spikes and engage the entire family in conservation experiments. For the first time, they can see the impact of their energy purchases and take practical steps toward saving energy and saving money by shifting energy use to off-peak hours when cost per kWh is lower and the load is lighter.” The Utility Planning Network’s annual
Metering Awards Program recognizes utilities for excellence in metering initiatives worldwide. It receives applications for its metering awards program from gas, water, and electric utilities located in virtually every corner of the globe. Previous winners include Consolidated Edison, Guernsey Electric (UK), Boston Water & Sewer, Region of Peel Water & Wastewater, and Anaheim Public Utilities. Applications are judged on their technological innovation and success in helping utilities achieve customer service and operational excellence. The awards committee is comprised of representatives from cooperatives, municipal, and investor owned gas, water and electric utilities. The UPN awards will be presented in Nashville in conjunction with the AMRA Autovation conference this October. C-K Hydro’s smart metering solution integrates TUNet, a two-way, real-time, wireless communications solution developed by Tantalus Systems Corp into the Harris CIS system. TUNet automatically captures the hourly interval data needed for billing and regulatory purposes as well as enables the utility to implement advanced real-time outage management and power quality monitoring systems. In the future, C-K Hydro will be able to add load control and distribution automation functionality, and also enable water and gas utilities to share a common communications network to contain operational costs. Kenney says that more than 50% of TUNet’s value is gained through operational improvements, reduced truck rolls, better outage management, and fewer estimated bills or billing discrepancies. “TUNet has exceeded our expectations in challenging situations to a degree we didn’t think possible. We can go precisely where the business case is most compelling,” adds Kenney. “The ability to surgically deploy TUNet devices anywhere within the service area allows us to accelerate ROI by targeting high value customers first such as C&I, end-of-line, and hard-to-read locations, then add capacity and functionality where it makes most sense. It’s a strategic, step-by-step approach to full smart metering implementation with a system that can then be used to drive conservation and other customer centric initiatives.”