T&D World Magazine

ESCO Announces Electric AMI Selection at PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has selected ESCO's Aclara RF Systems Inc. to provide additional electric advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) products for PG&E's SmartMeter Program.

PG&E began evaluating Aclara's RF electric solution in June 2007 with a 2000-unit field trial intended to demonstrate and validate the capabilities of Aclara's electric RF fixed network. The successful performance of this technology throughout the field trial was a significant factor in PG&E's decision to expand the deployment of this product.

PG&E has ordered 88,000 Aclara RF electric devices to be installed in the Central Valley region of northern California, which extends from Modesto to Sacramento. These units will include a ZigBee connector as well as an interface to a connect/disconnect function integrated in the meter. PG&E has indicated it intends to order a significant quantity of Aclara RF electric AMI devices throughout 2008, in addition to the nearly 400,000 TWACS power-line based electric AMI devices being installed in the Bakersfield and Vacaville areas.

This electric deployment is in addition to PG&E's ongoing gas AMI installations using Aclara products. The RF electric units will operate under PG&E's installed STAR Network AMI system which currently manages data from over 200,000 gas meters already installed in the Central Valley.

Aclara RF Systems is currently under contract with PG&E to provide a potential 4.1 million gas units over the life of the contract. In 2007, Aclara received orders for over 350,000 gas units ($25.4 million), and during fiscal 2008 to date, Aclara has received orders for approximately 500,000 additional gas units ($32.4 million) to be delivered in 2008.

This initial RF electric order brings the combined number of Aclara electric and gas AMI units under contract to greater than 1.3 million, with an expectation of additional orders, both gas and electric, over the remainder of fiscal 2008.

The Aclara STAR Network employs a secure, licensed radio frequency to transmit and receive data at regular intervals for numerous utility customers across North America. Compatible with gas, water, and electric meters, the STAR Network offers a proven-at-scale, redundant system architecture that ensures data security and reliability.

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