Having successfully tested an initial 50,000 new smart meters earlier this year, Florida Power & Light Co.recently began deploying a second 50,000 units to its customers in Broward County, Florida.
Powered by technology from Silver Spring Networks (SSN), a provider of real-time networking solutions for electrical grids, the new smart meters will help customers monitor their electricity usage and increase FPL’s ability to identify and correct service issues once the system is fully activated this summer.
The Advanced Metering Initiative combines a number of elements – intelligent meters, a two-way communications network using an Internet protocol language, and sophisticated operating systems and databases – that will enable customers to go online and monitor how much energy they have used by the month, week, day or hour.
The new system will also allow FPL to monitor the performance of its electrical grid in real time, enabling the company to identify and correct service interruptions more quickly. Silver Spring Networks’ technology powers the system by allowing smart meters to talk to other meters and electronic devices to create a wireless “mesh” network that is more cost efficient than other solutions.
The first phase of the project, completed in January 2008, evaluated the reliability and functionality of 50,000 new meters and associated SSN network technology. The system was tested against extensive performance criteria, all of which were met or exceeded. The second phase will assess business and customer benefits, and include expanded system performance testing. Based on the results of this evaluation, FPL hopes to begin full-scale deployment to all residential and small business customers.