Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Canadian city installs smart meter data collection devices

Steve Rogerson
October 8, 2015
 
Over the next three months, the Canadian city of Saskatoon will be installing data collection devices throughout the city, as the roll-out of its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) programme continues. The devices will enable AMI compatible smart meters to be read remotely for both city electricity and water customers.
 
“Since 2008, we have replaced approximately 60 per cent of the 60,000 older-style mechanical meters with new, electronic meters that become smart once the AMI system is operational,” said Kevin Hudson, metering and sustainable electricity manager for Saskatoon Light & Power (SL&P). “Our next step is to install the data collectors, which will wirelessly relay data over a secure network from the smart meters to the central management system located at City Hall.”
 
There will be 42 data collectors installed in the SL&P service area as well as 20 data repeaters in the Evergreen, University Heights and Willowgrove neighbourhoods. The data repeaters are used to relay data from the new water meter communications modules installed in the SaskPower service area.
 
The devices will be installed at a height of 3m on existing power and street light poles in the SL&P area, and on existing street light poles in the SaskPower area.
 
“The new AMI system is expected to be operational by mid-2016, at which time customers who have already received a new electricity meter will begin to receive monthly bills based on actual, not estimated, usage,” said Hudson. “The balance of electricity customers should be converted to the new system by the end of 2017.”
 
The installation of new water meters where necessary, as well as the corresponding communications modules, is scheduled to begin this autumn. All Saskatoon Water customers should be converted to the new system by the end of 2020. Bills showing actual water usage will begin in mid-2016 for those customers who have had an AMI communications module installed on either a new or existing water meter.
 
Once operational, the system will provide improved service for customers by providing actual meter readings on each monthly bill. It will also result in operational efficiencies for the city, as meter readers will no longer be required to visit individual properties, resulting in cost savings.
 
The city of Saskatoon is using a different brand of smart meter than the ones SaskPower was ordered to remove in 2014. The city has been installing meters supplied by Elster Canadian Meter since 2008, and there have been no reports of problems such as the SaskPower meters experienced.