T&D World Magazine

City of Tallahassee Deploys Smart Network to Better Manage Utility Use

Honeywell has been awarded a $14.9-million contract by the City of Tallahassee, Florida, to implement a smart metering network system that will allow the city to automatically collect electricity, natural gas and water usage data from residents and local businesses.

The smart metering system, which will include more than 220,000 electric, gas and water meters, will help the city reduce its operating costs by an estimated $21 million over 15 years and improve customer service. Additionally, the city will gain greater visibility into energy and water use, along with a platform for future conservation programs that will minimize the need to build additional power plants.

"The smart metering system is another step in helping Tallahassee continue its leadership role as a green and sustainable city," said Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, noting that in January 2008 Tallahassee became the second city in Florida to be silver certified as a Green City by the Florida Green Building Coalition. "Smart metering will supply information that will help us and our utility customers make better, more informed energy decisions that can ultimately help reduce the amount of power and water we use," Marks added.

As part of its contract, Honeywell will replace more than 110,000 electric meters with smart meters from Elster Integrated Solutions. Honeywell also will retrofit more than 25,000 gas meters and 85,000 water meters. Every meter will be equipped with a digital register -- instead of the traditional rotating dials -- and wireless technology that will allow the meters to send readings to more than 300 "collector" meters located throughout the city. Elster's EnergyAxis System will connect these data collection points to the city's utility systems, allowing the city to automatically compile metering information.

The electric meters feature two-way communication capabilities as well, which will give the city greater visibility into, and control of, the electricity grid. Instead of just collecting usage data, for example, utility employees can pinpoint specific houses affected by a power outage or remotely shut off power if a resident is moving.

The new meters will further reduce costs by detecting gas and water leaks or other problems almost immediately. Overall, the smart metering system will allow the city to generate timely, accurate usage and billing information for its customers. And it will minimize the need for meter readers to visit properties every month.

The new infrastructure will give Tallahassee the ability to implement demand response programs and other conservation strategies in the future. With demand response, for instance, the city plans to add smart thermostats to the network in the future. These thermostats can provide usage information and cycle equipment like air conditioners on and off for short periods of time to reduce peak energy demand and minimize the need for additional generation capacity. A Web portal may also be used to allow utility customers to personalize billing cycles and view consumption patterns to better manage their energy use.

Honeywell expects to complete the installation of the smart meters in 2009.

"This system will give utility customers greater control of their energy and water use, and it will help Tallahassee better understand and manage demand," said Kent Anson, vice president of Global Energy for Honeywell Building Solutions. "The work will generate long-term benefits for the city and all its residents."

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