Tantalus has announced with Itron Inc. the commercial availability of automated ERT (Encoder Receiver Transmitter) reading functionality for the companies’ joint solution platform for municipal and cooperative utilities. The solution is designed for utilities to quickly and cost-effectively migrate from a one-way drive-by or walk-by system to real-time reading via TUNet - the Tantalus Utility Network – configured as a fixed network, two-way AMI solution. This new alternative enables multi-commodity utilities to preserve existing investments in electric, water, and gas ERT technology. Along with ERT-reading functionality, an entire suite of newly enhanced Itron and Tantalus applications for automated metering, load management, and power quality management are also immediately available throughout North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Texas-based Garland Power & Light (GP&L), the City of Garland’s locally owned and controlled not-for-profit municipal utility, is among the first to utilize this comprehensive package of hardware and software applications. Since deploying TUNet-enabled Itron advanced meters, the utility has leveraged additional functionality offered in the joint solution including the automation of the collection of electric and water ERT readings and the visualization of live meter data in TRUView™ GIS. The solution is also seamlessly integrated with existing hardware and software such as Itron’s MVRS for billing. As a result, GP&L has been able to maintain existing billing interfaces and processes, but with enhanced capabilities which has led to a marked increase in operational savings through decreased truck rolls, verified and time stamped remote disconnects/reconnects for electricity, and more accurate billing.
“The City of Garland has been extremely pleased with the Itron and Tantalus partnership approach to this project from its inception,” remarked Mike Rader, Customer Service Manager for the City of Garland. “We feel that we have been given a voice in the development of a solution which effectively meets the challenges of balancing functionality, investment, and future planning, which are common considerations for public power utilities across the board. The Itron-Tantalus solution provides us with practical ways to drive down operational cost, improve customer service, and optimize existing investments in technology.”
The collaboration combines Itron’s SENTINEL® and CENTRON™ electricity meters as well as its gas and water ERT modules together with Tantalus’ TUNet® platform to address advanced metering, demand management, and distribution automation for the municipal and cooperative markets, which include nearly 40 million electric and 20 million gas and water meters. This offering is unique in the municipal and cooperative space and has already been shown to serve as a viable low capital cost option to migrate towards smart grid implementation at a fraction of the cost of a full system change out while providing a highly intelligent platform to utilize value-add applications, which are typically scaled for optimization in the large IOU market.