T&D World Magazine

Salt River Project Reaches Benchmark in EnergyAxis System Expansion

The Salt River Project (SRP) Agricultural and Improvement Power District in Phoenix, Arizona is continuing to install approximately 10,000 REX meters from Elster Electricity per month as part of its EnergyAxis System expansion project. SRP expects to install all of the 100,000 meters purchased in June 2006 by May 2007, totaling 175,000 REX meters installed since the system was deployed. The on-going expansion includes an additional 20,000 REX meters with internal service control switches, bringing the total number of REX meters with remote connect/disconnect capability to 45,000.

With the EnergyAxis System, SRP is able to read all the REX meters in the system daily. Since deploying the EnergyAxis System, SRP has seen a savings of 85,000 miles in vehicle expenses and has remotely completed more than 85,000 field orders. In the past 12 months alone, SRP has completed more than 9000 remote connects and disconnects. Every REX meter in the SRP system is programmed to collect time-of-use (TOU) data. This allows SRP to offer TOU rates to customers who normally would not have this option available because of access restrictions (locked gates, vicious dogs, etc.). For customers electing TOU rates, the switch to TOU billing can be made almost immediately and without the normal field visit.

"The savings we have seen from our automated daily reads and being able to remotely handle service calls from the office makes the system virtually pay for itself. Our operational expenses keep going lower as we expand the number of meters in the field," said John Soethe, manager of revenue cycle services for SRP.

"With the EnergyAxis System a user can start an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) on a small scale and move through full-scale implementation in stages. Starting small and expanding a system is a great strategy for companies who do not want to lay out a big capital expenditure at one time. The cost savings that grow with each expansion can be significant and becomes a great source of capital for future expansions," said Ronald B. Via, vice president of Elster Electricity.

The EnergyAxis System allows SRP to access meters remotely on a daily basis for meter reading and field service activities. The REX meters that have an internal service control switch allow SRP to connect and disconnect service on those meters from a remote location-often in the same day and with little effort. This feature benefits both SRP and its customers because SRP eliminates a trip to the field and customers do not have to wait hours to have their service reconnected. The same scenario exists for service turn-ons for new customers or when a home changes hands from the contractor to the new homeowner. The REX meters with internal control switches are particularly suitable for SRP's apartment population. They have a high move-in/move-out rate along with associated credit work. REX meters have also been deployed in SRP service territories where there can be concerns about the safety of field crews.

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