T&D World Magazine

Denton Municipal Electric Expands Smart Grid Deployment

Denton Municipal Electric in Denton, Texas, has selected Trilliant as the communication network solution for its smart grid implementation. Following a pilot program, DME is moving ahead with a replacement of its existing AMR system with the expectation to replace a total of 45,000 meters over a five-year period.

Denton is located near the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, with a population of more than 100,000 citizens. DME is owned by the residents of Denton, and offers safe, reliable service and competitive rates.

After reviewing proposals from a number of smart grid technology companies, DME selected Trilliant on the basis of its sophisticated multi-tier architecture and in particular as a result of the broadband wireless technology in place as a result of Trilliant’s acquisition of SkyPilot in May 2009.

In the near term, costs savings will be passed on to consumers as a result of the operational improvements now planned by DME.

“In the short term, our smart grid initiative is all about increasing our operational efficiency by reducing truck rolls and improving meter reliability,” according to Kyle Tunnell, Meter Planner and Coordinator at DME. “At the same time, we are putting a sophisticated two-way communication infrastructure in place that will allow DME to deploy more advanced smart grid applications over time.”

DME will begin the first stage of deployment in November by replacing more than 5,000 aging meters. Within a five-year period, all 45,000 business and consumer meters will be replaced.

DME’s coverage area is particularly challenging to the utility owing to the high turnover rate of their users. Denton is home to two universities, a population of users that typically move frequently. High residential turnover would typically require a costly and inefficient truck roll to turn service on or off. DME has significantly reduced the need for truck rolls in the piloted area, and now plans to bring that operational improvement to their entire coverage area.

Examples of the kinds of advanced Smart Grid applications that are soon to be available to DME include time-of-use rates, improved outage notification, in-home thermostat integration, pre-paid metering, and more.

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