Smart meters and AMI
A smart meter can be used with electricity or natural gas services. It records interval energy consumption and other data, and regularly communicates that data to a utility. Smart meters can also receive communications from a utility.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) typically includes smart meters that communicate through local data relays and at least one communication media (cellular, power line carrier, etc.) with centralized control software and centralized data storage (the meter data management system or MDM) on the utility’s servers.
Benefits of AMI & smart meters
- timely and accurate billing data to minimize estimates, inquiries, and adjustments;
- the structure necessary for utilities to provide rate structures suited to the specific setting, e.g. time-of-use rates and load control;
- data and tools to improve power quality, outage detection, and revenue protection;
- a foundation for smart grid applications;
- the structure for customers to better understand their energy use and make more informed energy usage choices.
Our AMI pilot project
We ran an AMI pilot project from 2006 to 2009. Although the pilot is over, the smart meters remain in service to provide information for customer moves, inquiries, and other operational activities. We have about 4,500 radio frequency electric smart meters in Winnipeg and about 200 power line carrier electric meters near Landmark, MB. There are also about 950 natural gas smart meters in Winnipeg. The pilot helped us understand the issues with installing, operating, and maintaining an AMI system.
What’s next for AMI and smart meters in Manitoba?
We are currently compiling pilot data, vendor information, and other marketplace knowledge into an AMI business case. This business case will help us better understand when there should be a broader implementation of electric and natural gas smart meters.