T&D World Magazine

Six Electric Cooperatives Move Forward with Aclara's Powerline Communications

Six electric cooperatives in Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas have announced plans to deploy power-line communications systems from Aclara Technologies. They will install Aclara’s advanced communications solutions to serve more than 60,000 customers across five states:

  • Glades Electric Cooperative (GEC) in Moore Haven, Florida
  • Barry Electric Cooperative (BEC) in Cassville, Missouri
  • Howard Electric Cooperative (HEC) in Fayette, Missouri
  • United Electric Cooperative (UEC) in DuBois, Pennsylvania
  • Oahe Electric Cooperative (OEC) in Blunt, South Dakota
  • Fannin County Electric Cooperative (FCEC) in Bonham, Texas

Aclara’s power-line communications operates on existing power lines, without adding additional communications infrastructure. Data provided by Aclara’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution allows utilities to understand patterns of usage and identify programs to reduce system peaks and costs. Meters on Aclara’s power-line communications system can be connected automatically, eliminating service calls.

BEC has committed to upgrading its system by replacing 75 percent of its existing TWACS meters with the latest Aclara technology. Barry will also upgrade its current AMI substation hardware to enable its AMI system to support more than 9,600 members and its growing pre-pay program.

Over the next 18 months, Aclara’s enhanced TWACS (eTWACS) solution will replace GEC’s existing drive-by system and provide some 16,000 customers with enhanced services and a more effective bill payment process. The eTWACS system will also reduce costs and streamline the utility’s meter reading process.

During that same period, HEC will use Aclara’s power-line communications system to give its employees more accurate and reliable data to better manage the operation and deliver safe, reliable power to its 3,400 customers. HEC is a member of the Central Electric Power Cooperative, an eight-member alliance of distribution cooperatives partnering with Aclara to support Callaway Electric Cooperative in Fulton, Missouri, and Co-Mo Electric Cooperative in Tipton, Missouri, which already use Aclara power-line systems.

Through 2018, UEC, a member of the Allegheny Electric Cooperative (AEC) generation and transmission association, will implement eTWACS to get more accurate and reliable meter reads as well as reduce outage times for its 19,000 customers. It also plans to put in 4,200 Aclara Demand Response Units. The five cooperatives belonging to AEC, which is based in Harrisburg, Pa., currently have more than 25,000 Aclara load-management devices deployed.

Aclara’s history of successful implementations in the Central South Dakota region convinced OEC to select its power-line communications technology to support AMI deployment for its approximate 3,000 members.

Finally, FCEC will replace its legacy non-Aclara AMI system beginning March 2014, with the eTWACS AMI system to service more than 1,800 miles of distribution lines with approximately 10,250 connected meters.

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