Over 15 years ago, LRE started implementing components of the Smart Grid. The Smart Grid is a combination of devices, computer programs and information gathering systems that link to quickly provide updated information and status of the electrical system.
Automatic Meter Infrastructure (AMI)
At The Energy Cooperative, we are constantly striving to provide greater value to our members. This involves exploring new sources of technology that will increase efficiency, provide better service and ultimately lower the cost of energy for members.
What started in 2004 as a project to investigate the benefits of Automatic Meter Reading, or AMR, has now evolved into a full implementation of a cooperative-wide Advanced Meter Infrastructure, or AMI. The decision to move towards AMI was driven by advancements in smart grid technologies.
AMI two-way communications with the meter, resulting in better service to members. Historically, electric meters have been read manually which required employees to move from house to house to take a visual read of the meter. This traditional method has consumed time, manpower and money. By installing the new AMI system on members’ homes, data gathered by the AMI system can be transmitted electronically over existing power lines and delivered daily to our substations where the information is collected and communicated through various means back to The Energy Cooperative office for processing.
The first component was the Graphical Information System (GIS), which is a mapping system that contains a complete database of all facilities in the field. The GIS system uses information from the Consumer Information System and supplies information to the Engineering Analysis System. Six years ago LRE started the implementation of a Meter Information System, which is a system that reads the meter and brings back additional information concerning the status of the electrical system. In addition to daily meter readings, the system supplies peak loading information, and momentary or extended outage information. This system gives LRE a pathway to communicate cost of power and information to the member so they can be informed of when they use power and how much it is costing them. Approximately 64 percent of the meters have been changed to Smart Grid meters. LRE will continue to implement portions of the Smart Grid as the technology develops and when it is cost effective.