Co-op to enhance member relations with fast, accurate outage and usage data
South Central Power provides electricity to more than 118,000 customers within 24 counties in central and southern Ohio, including parts of the Columbus metro-area. While residents appreciate the scenery offered amid the region’s rolling hills, traveling the hilly terrain to read meters was labor intensive and South Central Power turned to the available option at the time, Power Line Carrier (PLC). After years of successfully capturing billing reads, their aging system became hard to maintain and prevented them from keeping pace with the benefits available in newer communication systems.
“We struggled to work efficiently on our existing system,” said South Central Power’s Vice President of Engineering and Operations Tom Musick. “Because the system was older, parts were no longer available when they needed to be replaced.”
The legacy PLC system required a lot of electrical switching from substation to substation, which often resulted in reduced meter reading capability. The cooperative also relied on customer calls to understand when outages occurred, rarely getting a full picture of the outage until they sent a technician to investigate.
South Central Power’s team determined that it was the right time to upgrade to a next-generation advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution.
“We identified a need for communication devices in the field that could work with other smart devices and applications,” said South Central Power Director of Utility Services Nathan Whitacre. “Essentially, we were looking for a platform to allow us to grow with the changing times.”
The team opted to upgrade to the Sensus AMI solution, powered by FlexNet® communication network, a robust system that would enable the team to collect, deliver, manage and analyze meter data remotely in near-real-time over a secure two-way communication network. South Central will also utilize the system for Distribution Automation, automating their distribution system to give them greater visibility and control to greatly improve overall customer satisfaction.
“Not only does Sensus have a great reputation in the industry, but they know what they are talking about and have proven solutions,” said Allison Saffle, vice president of member services. “Working with the team has been a seamless process.”
In phase one, South Central Power is deploying 25,000 Stratus® Electricity Meters which allow the co-op to pinpoint an outage without waiting for a customer to call them. With improved outage response time and accurate usage data, the team is confident this investment will have a tangible impact on their members’ overall experience.
“Having a handle on usage data will provide better rate structures,” said Saffle. “This will improve operations and allow us to offer more benefits to members in the future.”
The entire deployment is expected to be completed in less than three years.
Sensus helps a wide range of public service providers—from utilities to cities to industrial complexes and campuses—do more with their infrastructure to improve quality of life in their communities. We enable our customers to reach farther through the application of technology and data-driven insights that deliver efficiency and responsiveness. We partner with them to anticipate and respond to evolving business needs with innovation in sensing and communications technologies, data analytics and services. For more information, visit sensus.com.
Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to developing innovative technology solutions to the world’s water challenges. The Company’s products and services move, treat, analyze, monitor and return water to the environment in public utility, industrial, residential and commercial building services settings. Xylem also provides a leading portfolio of smart metering, network technologies and advanced infrastructure analytics solutions for water, electric and gas utilities. The Company’s more than 16,500 employees bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on identifying comprehensive, sustainable solutions. Headquartered in Rye Brook, New York with 2017 revenue of $4.7B, Xylem does business in more than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands.
The name Xylem is derived from classical Greek and is the tissue that transports water in plants, highlighting the engineering efficiency of our water-centric business by linking it with the best water transportation of all – that which occurs in nature. For more information, visit www.xylem.com.