Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Uppco wants to read and control meters remotely

Steve Rogerson
October 4, 2018

Michigan utility the Upper Peninsula Power Company (Uppco) has launched Uppco Smart Energy, an advanced metering programme to improve reliability and delivers enhanced customer service.
The programme will use new infrastructure, the latest technology and smart meters to modernise the power grid. The primary benefit of this system is the ability to read and control customers’ meters remotely. This allows for quick and accurate meter readings and the ability to start and stop services without having to send a lorry to the customer’s premises.
“Uppco currently reads its meters on a bimonthly basis and estimates usage on the off months,” said Brett French, Uppco’s vice president of business development and communications. “By implementing the advanced metering solution, we will be able to read meters every month, greatly reducing our reliance on estimated values.”
Smart meters also record critical information during a power outage and send a signal to the utility’s system operation centre in Ishpeming whenever an outage is detected. This will allow for quicker detection and restoration of service.
“The advanced metering solution will improve upon reliability by providing the means for determining when and where unplanned outages occur, resulting in improved restoration efforts,” said French. “Installation of the new meters will begin during the spring of 2019. The project will take more than one year to complete.”
In a statement, the company said that scientific and medical evidence indicated that smart meters were a safe and effective way of measuring the amount of energy that was consumed at a customer’s home or business. Those that want to avoid smart meters will be provided with a standard meter opt-out option that will be reviewed and approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
“An opt-out option will be offered for customers that don’t want to participate in the Uppco Smart Energy programme,” said French.
The utility also said that customers’ energy use information would be securely transmitted over its secure network using advanced private communications and cyber security measures. No personal data will be transmitted over the secure network.