T&D World Magazine

Silicon Valley Power to Start Installing Smart Meters in 2011

Silicon Valley Power, the City of Santa Clara’s municipal electric utility, has announced the selection of Elster Solutions to provide smart meters over the next three years for the SVP Meter Connect program, starting with large business customers in 2011.

Called EnergyAxis, the meters and technology will allow SVP to read meters remotely without entering private property, pinpoint and respond to power outages, and eventually let customers monitor energy consumption to better control their electricity usage.

“Elster’s technology has provided utilities with millions of accurate smart meters, including 650,000 in Toronto and 500,000 in the Phoenix area,” said Larry Owens, SVP Manager of Customer Services. “Testing and validating accuracy and reliability at every step of the way are critically important to both Elster and SVP.” Owens said that SVP is utilizing different meters, network technology and strategy than used by PG&E’s smart meter program, which began last year in California.

SVP plans to begin a careful, phased rollout of SVP Meter Connect, starting first in the business community. Testing will continue this year prior to the initial rollout, and throughout the three-year installation period. In 2012, SVP will begin notifying residential customers of its plans to replace mechanical electric meters with smart meters.

For over a year, SVP has been testing and refining security and performance of the Wi-Fi communications systems that will allow information about energy usage to flow from meters to the utility. Meter reading will be done remotely without SVP personnel entering private property, and the technology provides immediate notification to SVP of outages to facilitate rapid response.

The city-wide Wi-Fi system that supports SVP Meter Connect will also provide residents with expanded free high-speed Internet access.

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