Three Ontario utilities to use FlexNet smart metering

SOUTHERN ONTARIO - Working together to achieve the benefits of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) smart metering system with a minimal infrastructure, three Ontario communities are now ready to take significant steps into OntarioÂ’s Smart Grid program.

Representing more than 170,000 endpoints, Cambridge and North Dunfries Hydro, Inc.; Kitchener Wilmot Hydro, Inc.; and Waterloo North Hydro, Inc. (CKW) entered the search process for an AMI vendor individually, under the government-steered London Hydro Consortium Project. The program leadership used a technical evaluation system to determine the best vendor to help utilities implement a smart metering program. The needs of CKW, along with 32 other utilities, were best matched with the FlexNet system by Sensus.

A primary goal of CKW was covering Cambridge’s 300 square kilometers, Waterloo’s 673 square kilometers, and Kitchener’s 404 square kilometer with a minimal infrastructure. The FlexNet solution will service the entire area with just 11 Tower Gateway Basestations — three for Cambridge and four each for Waterloo and Kitchener.

After the three utilities individually selected the FlexNet solution, they formed the CKW alliance to streamline resources to finalize the contract and make arrangements for deployment. Officials from all three utilities report the arrangement has fostered a strong sense of teamwork for planning and deploying smart grid integration.

“We each have dense urban and remote rural areas to cover, and we were committed to finding a solution that worked regardless of the terrain,” said Herbert Haller, Vice President, Engineering and Stations for Waterloo North Hydro Inc. “FlexNet was piloted and proved itself to work with a minimal need for the collectors. We believe FlexNet paves the way for each of us to accurately deploy this smart grid initiative and therefore offer unprecedented service to our customers.”

Cambridge had previous experience with Sensus through a pilot AMI project, where FlexNet performed “extremely well,” explained Mike Knox, Director, Customer Information Services & Conservation for Cambridge and North Dumfries Hydro, Inc.

“During the pilot, FlexNet satisfied our need for additional data, utility efficiency, and enhanced customer service; and the London Hydro RFP then confirmed our findings,” Knox said. “The extension of this agreement enables us to continue growing our customer base and establish a foundation for Smart Grid initiatives.”

Another winning FlexNet feature for CKW is the dedicated, primary-use, FCC and IC licensed and protected communications network that delivers up to two watts of transmitting power. And, all three community representatives say that the Sensus FlexNet suite of features makes future integration of gas and water metering, and measurement and distribution on a single communications network, a realistic goal for the future.

“The three utilities each have unique challenges, but FlexNet is able to provide the solutions these utilities need to launch a smart metering program,” said Bill Yeates, Executive Vice President of Conservation Solutions at Sensus. “We believe these communities will most benefit from the smart meters, intelligent home devices, and distribution automation equipment.”


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