Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Itron to modernise Otter Tail grid

William Payne
October 14, 2016
Midwestern utility Otter Tail Power Company has picked energy technology and services firm Itron Inc to modernise and improve the reliability of its electric grid. Itron will implement a smart grid solution with cellular communications and analytics.

Otter Tail Power provides electricity to customers in  Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The utility needs greater awareness of service interruptions across its territory to improve reliability.

Itron will manage reliability analytics on behalf of the utility, using information from Itron’s OpenWay smart grid solution with cellular communications. Itron will then notify operators when interruptions occur as well as pinpoint the circuits, phases and number of customers involved. This will allow the utility to improve overall reliability, outage response and customer satisfaction.

Otter Tail Power Company will also perform historic outage analysis and measure restoration performance. This enables operators to identify poorly performing feeders and prioritize budget allocation for infrastructure improvements and maintenance.

“Otter Tail Power Company was looking to replace our aging interruption monitoring system with an Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI)-based offering that provides both historic and real-time outage analytics and voltage monitoring capabilities on a single platform. We found that with Itron, we’ll have the technology and a team of experts to quickly get the system up and running and provide results,” said Rod Jensen, P.E., reliability engineer at Otter Tail Power Company. “With Itron’s help, we will be able to improve reliability while determining where to place resources for vegetation management and infrastructure improvements.”

“Itron Total Outcomes for reliability provides functionality similar to a SCADA implementation, but at a fraction of startup and operational costs. The managed services approach frees up Otter Tail Power Company’s resources to focus on pressing operational activities rather than implementing and managing IT environments and AMI systems,” said Bruce Douglas, senior vice president and general manager of software and services at Itron. “Itron’s powerful analytics will help Otter Tail Power Company harness the value of the data generated by Itron’s smart cellular solution so the utility can operate more efficiently and deliver more reliable service to its customers.”