AMRA offers Trials & Installations Report covering 172 projects

AMRA's January 2001 Trials & Installations Report details 172 projects comprising 11.8 million AMR units at 168 utilities. The majority of projects are installations; utilities report only 13 trials involving less than 5,000 units.

NORTHBROOK, Ill. -AMRA's January 2001 Trials & Installations Report details 172 projects comprising 11.8 million AMR units at 168 utilities. The majority of projects are installations; utilities report only 13 trials involving less than 5,000 units.

Utility representatives say they plan to use AMR to boost competitive ability and provide services such as outage and tamper detection, load-profiling, customized billing, rate-based pricing, load management, distribution automation, and supervisory control and data acquisition.

Though the total number of projects included in the 2001 Trials & Installations Report is 23 percent lower than the 2000 report, many project managers sent information about new and expanded AMR initiatives. The 2001 report lists 67 new projects comprising more than 1 million units and 51 expansions that add nearly 2.4 million units to ongoing installations.

Five utilities report installations of more than 1 million units:

* Aguas de Barcelona expanded its dial-inbound and GSM system, and now plans to install a total of 1.2 million units-

* AmerenUE completed deployment of its 1.3-million unit fixed-network radio system.

* Northeast Utilities is installing a 1.5-million unit AMR system, which uses mobile radio for some customers and dial-outbound for others.

* Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority representatives say installation of the utility's 1.3-million unit power-line communications system is ahead of schedule.

* Puget Sound Energy is using its 1.33-million unit fixed-network radio system to launch an energy- management program for more than 400,000 customers.

Electric/Gas Utilities Continue Large Deployments; Water Sees Upsurge

Only eight combination electric/gas utilities reported AMR activities, but five are large-scale projects. Thus, electric/gas utilities take the lead in system deployment, with nearly 5 million units in the field or scheduled for installation.

Three utilities use fixed-network radio systems, one uses walk-by radio, one uses dial-inbound, one uses PLC and one uses a combination of mobile radio and dial-outbound telephone. Meanwhile, TXU Electric & Gas implemented an Internet-based system to collect and display detailed usage data, and provide energy-information services.

Electric utilities report the majority of deployment activity: 108 utility project managers are conducting 104 installations of more than 3.2 million units and 7 trials of nearly 1,897 units.

However, most of the projects involve fewer than 20,000 units; only four are installations of 100,000 or more units. The majority of projects -86- rely on PLC technology, 12 use a combination of PLC and telephone technologies, seven use one-way telephone, four use radio technologies and two use a hybrid of communications technologies.

Water utilities report the third highest total of AMR units to be deployed: Thirty-three utilities are installing nearly 2.8 million units and one is conducting a trial of 1,340 units. This activity level may seem low, but it indicates a surge of interest because 21 projects, a whopping 62 percent, are new listings.

Radio continues to be the technology of choice for water utilities, with 15 using mobile radio, nine using radio, four using fixed-network radio, three using a combination of walk-by radio and mobile radio, and one using radio supported by two-way telephone technology. Only two utilities report deploying non-radio AMR systems: one uses dial-inbound and another uses dial-inbound with GSM.

Gas-utility listings detail projects at four utilities: four installations of nearly 620,000 units and two trials of 1,365 units. Two notable installations are a 512,000-unit project at Reliant Energy and a 105,000-unit project at Enstar Natural Gas Co. Three systems use dial-outbound telephone, one uses fixed-network radio, one uses mobile radio and one uses walk-by radio.

Combination utilities other than electric/gas report 11 installations of 241,000 units and two trials of 34 units. Six systems use PLC, two use mobile radio, one uses fixed-network radio, one uses satellite and three use a hybrid of communications technologies.

Compiling the 2001 AMRA Report

The January 2001 Trials & Installations Report is a compilation of pilots and installations that occurred in 2000 or are planned for 2001 and beyond. The update also provides modifications of unclear or imprecise listings that appeared in the July 2000 Trials & Installations Update.

Representatives of utilities and utility service companies verify all data that appears in AMRA reports.

The January 2001 Trials & Installations Report does not list deployments completed before 2000. For this data, refer to previous AMRA reports and updates. These reports cost $50 each for members and $75 for nonmembers; purchase online at https://masterlock.secure-orders.net/amra-int/AMRA/pubordersecure.htm or contact AMRA headquarters at 847/480-9628 or amra@amra-intl.org for more information.

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