Briefs

Sensus Metering Systems experienced unprecedented demand from the utility industry for its Automated Metering Infrastructure systems in 2007, according to a company press release.

Company Reports Growth in AMI Services

Sensus Metering Systems experienced unprecedented demand from the utility industry for its Automated Metering Infrastructure systems in 2007, according to a company press release.

Sensus contracted for more than 7 million water, gas, and electric FlexNet AMI endpoints in 2007, while delivering 1.2 million additional water, gas, and electricity endpoints. Chief Technology Officer H. Britton Sanderford, Jr. said acceptance of FlexNet came very quickly, given it was introduced to the AMI market in early 2006.

Other 2007 growth-oriented notes of interest include Sensus implementing 50 FlexNet water projects; signing three major Investor-Owned Utility gas projects; and delivering 50,000 endpoints to one FlexNet gas customer. Sensus leadership also used 2007 to restructure the company to enhance prioritization on management, delivery, manufacturing and software development.

District Extends Operations Contract

The Hardin County Water District No. 1 of Radcliff, KY, has approved an approximate $33-million, 17.5-year contract agreement with Veolia Water North America - South LLC (Veolia Water) for the operation and management of the newly acquired Radcliff Wastewater systems. The District and Veolia Water teamed together in 2002 to win a competition and assume ownership and management of the Fort Knox Wastewater and Storm Water systems. The overall operational excellence established by that partnership, along with anticipated lower sewer rates for Radcliff residents, were the two key drivers behind the extension.

The agreement calls for the operation, management and maintenance of Radcliff's 4 mgd wastewater treatment plant, 57 lift stations and 130 miles of sewer lines to serve 8,800 customers.

Consultant Selected for Expansion Project

Black & Veatch has been selected by the city of Olathe, KS, as the consulting engineer for the expansion of the Cedar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The firm will provide engineering services for the initial study phase of the capital improvement project to implement advanced nutrient removal processes and boost the plant’s wastewater treatment capacity to keep pace with Olathe’s growing population. The expansion is expected to triple the Cedar Creek plant’s existing capacity of three million gallons per day.

The reduction of nutrient levels from discharges in the Mississippi River basin has been a primary focus of regulatory efforts to remedy hypoxic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Black & Veatch team will work closely with city staff during the next five months on the project planning phase. The initial work will focus on evaluating alternatives and cost development for the plant expansion. The study’s goal is to identify the most cost-effective, phased expansion plan while meeting anticipated discharge limits for phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations.

Company Signs Contracts For Meter Management

Itron signed 10 contracts in two months with utilities and energy delivery companies in North America, Asia and Australia to deliver the company's Enterprise Edition™ (IEE) Meter Data Management system. The MDM deployments are, in part, preparation for large-scale advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) initiatives and to improve the data collection and billing process for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers.

By managing large volumes of interval, register and event data from advanced meters in a single enterprise repository, the IEE platform enables utilities to streamline IT infrastructure and leverage the data their automated meter reading (AMR) and AMI systems collect to support a wide variety of applications, including time-based pricing, demand response and load control, outage management, revenue assurance, customer care, distribution asset management, and demand forecasting.

Itron has recently signed contracts for IEE deployments at the Cucamonga Valley Water District, Seattle City Light, Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI), and Georgia System Operations Corp., to name a few. In addition, several utilities have contracted with Itron to use IEE in pilot programs that will test and validate support for AMI-driven business processes.

Business Intelligence System Project Begins

BearingPoint Inc., a management and technology consulting firm, has been selected by the Cleveland Division of Water for a $13.7 million business transformation project at the utility. The project at Cleveland Water will involve implementing Oracle® Utilities Customer Care and Billing and Oracle Utilities Business Intelligence software, designed to consolidate and streamline these processes at Cleveland Water. The system will help the utility better understand customer needs, improve bill accuracy and enhance customer service.

Utility to Deploy ‘Smart’ Meter System

Honeywell has been awarded a $14.9 million contract by the city of Tallahassee, FL, to implement a smart metering network system that will allow the city to automatically collect electricity, natural gas and water usage data from residents and local businesses.

The system, which will include more than 220,000 electric, gas and water meters, will help the city reduce its operating costs by an estimated $21 million over 15 years and improve customer service. Additionally, the city will gain greater visibility into energy and water use, along with a platform for future conservation programs.

As part of its contract, Honeywell will replace more than 110,000 electric meters with smart meters from Elster Integrated Solutions. Honeywell also will retrofit more than 25,000 gas meters and 85,000 water meters. Every meter will be equipped with a digital register and wireless technology that will allow the meters to send readings to more than 300 "collector" meters located throughout the city. Elster's EnergyAxis® System will connect these data collection points to the city's utility systems, allowing the city to automatically compile metering information.

The new meters will further reduce costs by detecting gas and water leaks or other problems almost immediately. Overall, the smart metering system will allow the city to generate timely, accurate usage and billing information for its customers. And it will minimize the need for meter readers to visit properties every month.

EPA Documents Focus on Water System Sustainability

EPA is providing tools and information to help communities improve sustainability of their water systems. The agency has published two new documents: "National Capacity Development Strategic Plan" and "Analysis on the Use of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Set-Asides: Promoting Capacity Development."

The "National Capacity Development Strategic Plan" describes how EPA, state drinking water programs, drinking water system owners and operators, and technical assistance providers will work together to achieve the objectives and anticipated outcomes of the national capacity development program. The strategy outlines how EPA and its partners will promote proactive communication and outreach to help ensure that water systems have the capacity to demonstrate long-term sustainability. Funding made available through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program can be critical in advancing capacity development programs at the state level.

EPA's report titled "Analysis on the Use of Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Set-Asides: Promoting Capacity Development" provides information on how states have used their funds and will help state drinking water personnel, drinking water system owners and operators, and technical assistance providers to better understand how the DWSRF can support capacity development programs and EPA's sustainable infrastructure initiative.

For more information about capacity development, visit: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/smallsys/ssinfo.htm

Utility Upgrades CIS System

Cobb County Water System (CCWS) in Georgia has successfully implemented the latest version of the Ventyx™ Customer Suite customer information system (CIS)/billing solution. The new system will deliver improved service to CCWS’ rapidly expanding customer base while maintaining its record of fiscal performance.

Since the 1960s, the Atlanta metropolitan region, which includes Cobb County, has been among the fastest growing areas in the country. Challenged with meeting the demands of a growing service area of more than 670,000 residents, CCWS needed to upgrade its customer management capabilities while avoiding a lengthy and costly implementation process. CCWS accomplished these goals by upgrading from release 3.1 of Customer Suite to Customer Suite 4.0.

“We originally selected the Ventyx CIS solution in 2004 as we were transitioning from our mainframe-based system to a more advanced and flexible customer management suite,” said Ed Biggs, Cobb County IT project sponsor. “As our customer base continued to grow in numbers and complexity, we realized the need to upgrade our system once again. The previous Ventyx implementation was a success, and we had kept our maintenance contract up-to-date.”

Cobb County used a small, but experienced and focused project team to implement the solution, partnering with Professional Services personnel from Ventyx. After an implementation of only 7.5 months, the system is fully operational and is being used by a wide cross-section of CCWS staff.

City Selects Customer Service Software

Harris Computer Systems, a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc., has announced that the city of Santa Ana, CA, has selected Systems & Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harris, to implement its enQuesta 3e solution, an enterprise resource planning system (ERP).

Santa Ana, which serves 44,000 water and sewer customer accounts, will use the system to consolidate its integrated data with the goal of increasing operational efficiency. S&S partnered with Lawson Software to provide the city with the software system and implementation services.

“We are very excited that the City of Santa Ana has selected enQuesta 3e to assist in providing an integrated approach to managing and optimizing its customer service operations,” said Dave Decker, executive VP, Systems & Software. “We are certain that Systems & Software and Lawson Software will exceed the city’s expectations in delivering a total solution and long-term partnership.”

City Selects Customer Service Software

Harris Computer Systems, a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc., has announced that the City of Santa Ana, CA, has selected Systems & Software, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harris, to implement its enQuesta 3e solution, an enterprise resource planning system (ERP).

Santa Ana, which serves 44,000 water and sewer customer accounts, will use the system to consolidate its integrated data with the goal of increasing operational efficiency. S&S partnered with Lawson Software to provide the city with the software system and implementation services.

“We are very excited that the City of Santa Ana has selected enQuesta 3e to assist in providing an integrated approach to managing and optimizing its customer service operations,” said Dave Decker, Executive VP, Systems & Software. “We are certain that Systems & Software and Lawson Software will exceed the city’s expectations in delivering a total solution and long-term partnership.”

Firm Completes GIS Project

Avineon, a provider of IT, geospatial, engineering and program management services, has completed a geographic information system (GIS) services project for the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), a public utility serving approximately 1.2 million people in San Antonio and the surrounding urbanized areas. Avineon was selected to provide geospatial consulting and data cleanup of the water infrastructure topology for the city’s legacy data migrated from MicroStation DGN files to ArcSDE 9.2 as part of SAWS’ ongoing commitment to maintaining quality GIS data.

Avineon evaluated the existing SAWS GIS architecture and provided recommendations for project execution, from preparation of data sources to data enhancement plan design and quality assurance and quality control processes. Once approved, the company implemented the design plan for each of the utility’s 12 pressure zones, updating the infrastructure and facilities. The design plan resulted in a significantly improved dataset and reduced SAWS clean up efforts to less than five percent of the original topology issues and less than 10 percent of the original connectivity issues. SAWS made the improved geospatial data available to other departments with critical time requirements to ultimately reduce costs.

Avineon’s work was performed at the company’s Clearwater, Florida, office, with all deliverables completed in accordance with SAWS topology specifications and project requirements. The data with enhanced topology was delivered in a disconnected edit version of the SAWS ArcSDE 9.2 Geodatabase.

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