T&D World Magazine

KC Electric Finalizing Installation of Advanced Utility Communication Network

KC Electric Association, Inc. will soon finalize installation of a Sensus FlexNet Utility Network and iCon A electric meters to serve about 4000 residential and small commercial members across an estimated 5000-square-mile territory in rural Colorado. KC Electric is also installing about 2200 Sensus iCon APX electric meters for commercial and irrigation members.

The deployment, which began in fall 2011, is scheduled to be completed at the end of this year and includes four base stations. KC Electric chose to install the FlexNet point-to-multipoint network, which is based on open standards, to overcome problems including line interference and the maintenance with mesh and power line carrier systems. The Sensus equipment will replace analog meters, which were read manually by customers or utility personnel.

“We average about two consumers per mile, so we needed a system that would be reliable, given our lack of density, and help cut the time and cost associated with meter reading,” said KC Electric General Manager Timothy J. Power. “The Sensus technology has excellent range, communicating more than 40 miles from meter to tower in some areas.”

With approximately 45 percent of its load comprising irrigation, KC Electric plans for the Sensus system to serve as the foundation for its plans to eventually implement an online portal through which irrigators can monitor energy usage. KC Electric also plans to integrate the Sensus technology with its current outage management system via MultiSpeak and use power quality monitoring to determine voltage regulation.

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