Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Elster wins smart metering contract in Mississippi

Iain Morris
October 28, 2014

Authorities in Starkville, Mississippi have unveiled plans to use advanced metering infrastructure from Germany’s Elster Solutions to support electricity and water usage by customers.

Starkville Electric Department (SED) and Starkville Public Works they received unanimous approval from city officials in August for the deployment of the company’s technology.

The meters are designed to help customers track daily and average water and electricity usage and better manage their energy consumption.

However, Terry Kemp, SED’s general manager, insists the move to smart grid technology will not increase either utility’s rates.

Besides helping customers to cut down on energy usage, the new technology is designed to ensure the utility organizations can more quickly respond to outages and improve their own efficiency through the use of real-time monitoring.

The new infrastructure will replace Starkville’s manual meter reading system with a more advanced, multi-utility metering and communications infrastructure, said Parker Wiseman, Starkville’s mayor.

According to Kemp, the utilities saw Elster (Mainz-Kastel, Germany) as an excellent fit with the city’s needs.

The deployment is to include more than 12,500 electric meters, more than 11,600 water modules and customer energy management portals, and will be provided to Starkville as part of Elster’s subscription-based managed services offering.

“Not only will customers be able to track their daily and average water and electricity usage, but the technology allows for bill projections, more-flexible billing options and in-depth infrastructure status reports,” said Kemp. “The new system will also provide the city with quicker service responses, increased customer engagement, faster service restoration, increased operational efficiency, real-time monitoring and future adaptability to rate structures.”

According to Elster, the service it provides will also come with a utility energy portal giving operations staff detailed meter reading, analysis and reporting capabilities.

The consumer energy portal, meanwhile, will ensure that customers have access to real-time consumption information.

Elster will begin deploying the new infrastructure this year, with city employees undergoing training for the new system in 2015.

The partners say they expect full deployment to occur in 2016.
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