Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Alabama city starts advanced metering programme

Steve Rogerson
December 11, 2018

The city of Dothan is Alabama has started an electricity and water advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) programme using technology from South Carolina-based Hubbell Power Systems through its Aclara brand, a supplier of smart infrastructure to electric, gas and water utilities around the world.
Upon completion of the pilot, the city plans to roll out its AMI project to include 31,000 Aclara I-210+ and kV2c electric meters. It will then expand the AMI system to include as many as 35,000 water meters. The project, which will use the Aclara RF point-to-multipoint network, should provide several key benefits to the utility and its customers.
"Aclara's RF point-to-multipoint network offers us significant advantages over mesh networks that we had been considering, including enhanced speed and accuracy of outage notifications plus redundancy to ensure reliability," said Billy Mayes, utility director for Dothan. "Aclara's RF AMI will enable us to get automatic notifications of power outages, speeding response time with the integration of outage management, as well as the ability to optimise our operations. The system will also allow us to expand our AMI network to include smart sensors and enable smart city upgrades in the future."
The RF network provides two-way communications. It employs licensed 450 to 470MHz radio frequencies for better propagation of all inbound and outbound communications between data collectors and endpoints.
"Aclara has enjoyed a long and valued relationship with the city of Dothan, and we are very pleased that they chose Aclara for this important project," said Allan Connolly, president of Aclara. "Our ability to meet all their requirements in terms of providing an all-in-one solution, and our capability to scale and expand the programme as needed, addressed some of their important selection criteria. In addition, the ability to integrate our AclaraOne unified head-end software into the system will offer many other advantages such as automatically reading their water meters in addition to the electric meters on the same RF network.
"The fact that we can integrate water, gas and electric meters into a combo solution operating under a single head-end software provides advantages including lower total cost of ownership over other technology and service providers once the whole network is installed."
Located approximately two hours south of Montgomery, Alabama, Dothan is home to more than 68,000 residents. The city is the main transportation and commercial hub for much of south-eastern Alabama, south-west Georgia, and nearby portions of the Florida Panhandle.
Aclara, part of the Hubbell Power Systems family of brands, is a supplier of smart infrastructure services to more than 800 water, gas and electric utilities globally. Its offerings include smart meters and other field devices, AMI and software and services that enable utilities to predict and respond to conditions, leverage their distribution networks effectively, and engage with their customers.
Hubbell Power Systems is a manufacturer of transmission, distribution, substation, OEM and telecommunications products for non-residential and residential construction and electric, gas and water utility applications. With revenues of $1.1bn, it operates manufacturing facilities in the USA and around the world. Its headquarters are in Columbia, South Carolina.