Southern Rivers Energy (SRE) will install the Sensus FlexNet utility network as the nucleus for a major technology update to serve the electric cooperative’s approximately 15,000 members in its nine-county service territory in central Georgia.
SRE considered several options including mesh and power line carrier networks to replace a drive-by advanced meter reading system before deciding that FlexNet provided the best performance for its immediate and future needs. Initial deployment will include nine FlexNet base stations and 18,500 iCon electric meters integrated with new mobile work management and automated vehicle location systems.
The FlexNet utility network will provide SRE with secure, two-way communication between residential and commercial meters and enterprise systems that include meter data management and outage notification products.
Henry noted that the FlexNet system gives SRE an expansion platform for other applications that can accommodate the utility’s future plans for direct load control in demand side conservation programs, as well as real-time pricing and prepaid options that will help members manage their monthly budgets. FlexNet can interface directly with home area networks and other intelligent devices for SRE members wanting to automate energy monitoring and control.
The contract, which was administered by the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), calls for deployment of a complete wireless network by the end of 2013. SRE elected to have Sensus provide hosting services for the network’s head end applications rather than manage network servers in-house.