Whitewater Valley, which provides electricity to 12,000 meters in eastern Indiana, chose TUNet (the Tantalus Utility Network) for full deployment after a rigorous field trial that involved placing TUNet-equipped meters in the Cooperative's toughest and most remote terrain in order to test the performance of Tantalus's two-way, real-time communications network.
"TUNet provides a highly flexible solution that gives us the right combination of functionality, deployment flexibility, and cost effectiveness," said Boyd Huff, the Cooperative's general manager. "We can implement a communications system that meets our core AMI application requirements today - interval meter reading, outage detection, remote disconnect & reconnect, and real-time power quality monitoring - and leverage this network for other Smart Grid applications like demand response or distribution automation as policy and operational needs evolve our business."
"The range and robustness of the TUNet WAN is a key reason for choosing Tantalus," added Huff. "The 220 MHz radio signal provides the coverage and capacity we need to extend command and control functionality to the farthest corners of our service territory, and do so in a very quick and economical manner."
TUNet also offers additional Wide Area Network options including wired or wireless broadband technologies like Fiber, WiFi, WiMAX or GSM. Targeting remote farms and rural communities was Whitewater Valley's first priority.
An "outside in" deployment strategy enables the co-op to eliminate high-cost reading routes as well as instantly detect outages, an ever-present threat in a region where the storm season spans late fall through to early spring. Huff added that this approach is paying off in fewer truck rolls, faster repairs and customer service response, and safer working conditions for staff.
"Electric co-ops are pioneering effective use of AMI technology through innovative deployment strategies and by discovering new ways to use the data made available through advanced metering," said Eric Murray, President of Tantalus. "Whitewater Valley realizes how important it is to select a communications system that addresses much more than advanced metering - one that allows it to capture benefits early on in the process and provides a platform on which to evolve into full Smart Grid functionality."