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article imageGrowth seen in advanced metering infrastructure in U.S.

By Karen Graham     Oct 6, 2017 in Technology
Advanced metering infrastructure can be defined as a collective network of smart meters, communication networks, and data management systems that can help customers, utilities and third-party providers to manage electricity usage in an efficient manner.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s most recent data, there are about 58 million residential advanced meters (also called “smart meters”) installed in the United States, representing over 40 percent of all households. Leaders in the deployment of smart meters include Washington, D.C., Maine, Nevada, Georgia, California, and Vermont.
The national business group, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) points out smart meters are necessary if we are to realize a smart electrical grid and in turn create a market in distributed energy resources (DER). However, AEE also uses the term Advanced Metering Functionality (AMF).
And while AMI refers to specific technologies aimed at utilities, AMF is a broader term that covers a wider range of technologies and solutions to provide the same or similar capabilities as AMI. According to Utility Dive, "AMF provides a platform for utilities and third-party service providers to offer highly granular data on individual customers’ energy usage, in some cases with near real-time access."
A typical GE control platform which can be used to host intelligent grid management software for mic...
A typical GE control platform which can be used to host intelligent grid management software for microgrids.
General Electric/Global Research
All this means is that utilities and third-party providers are able to customize load-management programs for customers, allowing them to control their electrical usage and costs. This includes meters that measure and record electricity usage at a minimum of hourly intervals and that provide the data to both the utility and the utility customer at least once a day, to real-time meters with built-in two-way communication that is capable of recording and transmitting instantaneous data.
Of all smart meter technologies, one critical technological problem is communication. Each meter must be able to reliably and securely communicate the information collected to some central location. However, because of the range of environments where smart meter technology is employed, there are just as many proposed solutions to getting the information to a central location.
Added to the problem is the need for some type of network. Right now, there are fixed wireless, wireless mesh networks, and wireless ad hoc networks or a combination of the two. There are several other possibilities being considered, including Wi-Fi and other Internet-related networks. So far, no one solution seems to be the best for all applications.
Duke Energy Florida reveals plans for modern  two-way resilient grid.
Duke Energy Florida reveals plans for modern, two-way resilient grid.
Duke Ehergy Florida
Results of 2016 DOE Grid Study
The U.S. Department of Energy's 2016 Advanced Metering Infrastructure and Customer systems report demonstrated that AMI and customer systems can achieve substantial grid impacts and benefits for customers and utilities.
Not only do customers have more control over how much energy is used, but they can also see cost savings, especially for remote meter reading. Companies see lower utility capital expenditures from reduced peak demand and improvements in asset utilization and maintenance.
However, the biggest plus to smart meters was demonstrated in parts of Florida after Hurricane Irma came through. Smart meters resulted in lower outage costs and fewer inconveniences for customers from faster outage restoration and more precise dispatching of repair crews to the locations where they were needed.
Smart Grid Legislative and Regulatory Policies
A number of states have already been tackling the many questions that regulators, policymakers, utilities, and other stakeholders must consider before considering smart grid-related laws, regulations, and policies. And there are a number of questions that must be addressed, with one of them being cybersecurity protection.
The electrical grid brings electricity from the power source into our homes and businesses.
The electrical grid brings electricity from the power source into our homes and businesses.
Fitrah Hamid, Georgia Tech
On August 29, Hawaiian Electric Co. filed a final $205 million grid modernization plan that includes a targeted smart meter deployment. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission also recently approved a settlement agreement on July 25 that, among other things, initiates a fully advanced metering infrastructure roll-out in Xcel Energy’s service territory beginning in 2020.
Entergy has been busy seeking approval for AMI roll-outs across several jurisdictions in 2017, including recent affirmative decisions in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and a pending application in Texas. And not to be outdone, Duke Energy is expanding its smart grid technology in the installation of North Carolina's two largest battery energy storage systems – a $30 million investment as part of the company's Western Carolinas Modernization Plan.
And Duke Energy Florida is also investing in AMI, with plans to re-make its Florida grid into a two-way grid that incorporates renewable energy, storage, electric vehicle charging stations and smart meters as well as boosting resiliency.
More about Smart meters, advanced metering infrastructure, Smart grid, Analytics, meter data management system
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