Ottawa, ON-January 30, 2013—The Coldwater Board of Public Utilities(BPU) has chosen
, Harris Utilities’ meter datamanagement (MDM) solution and customer engagement solution (CES), to enhanceits engineering, billing and service processes and encourage further consumers involvementin key conservation programs.
MeterSenseis an advanced MDM solution that transforms raw smart meter data into valuablebusiness intelligence and enables utilities to improve business process andenhance customer service. CustomerConnect is a web-based data presentment toolthat enables consumers to access and interpret their consumption patterns,which helps them to make smarter choices about resource use, reduce their billsand support utility conservation goals.
MeterSense helps interpret a wide arrayof grid data
Locatedin southern Michigan, Coldwater BPU delivers water and electric services across12,500 meters to a population of approximately 10,200 residential andcommercial and industrial (C&I) consumers. The utility launched a pilotproject to test advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in January 2012. Theproject’s aim was twofold. First, to test the capacity of the AMI software tointerpret data derived from the polyphase meters used by the utility for itslarge C&I accounts. Second, to entirely replace its enterprise residentialmeters with smart meters. Shortly into the project, Coldwater BPU officialsjudged they needed an MDM application to gather, store and analyze smart meterdata derived from the residential AMI, and to extract usage and billing datafrom the utility’s polyphase meters.
CharlesBauschard, engineering manager with Coldwater BPU, said that once the utilityrealized an MDM was essential to the successful implementation of its smart meteringsolution, it temporarily suspended its AMI pilot project.
“Oncewe understood that we required an MDM solution, we began to develop a list offunctions we required from that application,” he said. “On our large C&Iaccounts, for example, the process of reading meters, reporting billingdeterminants and inputting data into our customer information system is longand detailed. An MDM that can automate that process and ensure it’s doneaccurately every time is extremely valuable to us.”
ColdwaterBPU chose MeterSense in part because the solution’s rules engine could be configuredto manage the influx of data coming from the polyphase meters, and in partbecause of the solution’s capacity to fully automate billing processes acrossall meters. The utility also saw value in MeterSense’s potential to enhance itsmeter reading processes. Coldwater BPU currently reads most of its water andelectric meters using automatic meter reading technology. It plans to use MeterSenseto fully automate that function and free up field personnel to perform other,more complex tasks. The utility also expects to draw on MeterSense’s nativeanalytics functions to detect grid losses, manage service disconnects andaugment its service team’s capacity to respond to end users’ billing questions.
“HarrisUtilities’ track record of support was another key benefit for us,” saidBauschard. “We’re not a large utility, so it was important for us to work witha partner that offered hosted services and stood behind small customers such asourselves.”
WithMeterSense in place and expected to go live in the summer, Coldwater BPUexpects to resume its AMI pilot project soon.
CustomerConnect to help all end usersmanage consumption
WhileColdwater BPU is eager to realize operational benefits from MeterSense, it isalso excited to introduce CustomerConnect to its end users. The utility hopesthe solution will create a direct link for consumers between consumption andusage costs, and thereby empower users to change their energy and water usagehabits. Specifically, the HomeConnect and BillConnect modules will enableColdwater residents to access their smart meter data online at any time of theday via mobile or wired devices, and view and pay their bills online. TheSiteConnect module will enable Coldwater BPU to offer rich analytic andreporting tools that enable its C&I end users to study consumption patternsand compare their usage to other performers on the grid.
“Wewant to encourage all our customers to use CustomerConnect to see theirinterval data and make informed decisions about their energy and water usage,”said Bauschard. “We will also use the application to educate more customers aboutour local and state-mandated conservation programs.”
MeterSense and CustomerConnect offerbenefits to all types of consumers and all sizes of utilities
NormDaigle, executive vice-president of Harris Utilities SmartWorks—the innovationengine of Harris Utilities that created MeterSense and CustomerConnect—saidthis implementation demonstrates the usefulness of the two solutions forC&I consumers as well as regular residential accounts.
“Utilitiessuch as Coldwater BPU that manage large commercial and industrial accounts canbenefit greatly from MeterSense and CustomerConnect,” he said. “WhileMeterSense helps utilities service their large C&I accounts moreefficiently than ever before, CustomerConnect—and in particular, itsSiteConnect module—will help utilities encourage these end users to changetheir consumption patterns and save money.”
Regardlessof utility size, commodity focus or organizational objectives, MeterSense andCustomerConnect offer the potential to realize significant business-processefficiencies and provide new tools to promote conservation.
About Coldwater Board of PublicUtilities (BPU)
TheColdwater Board of Public Utilities delivers water and electric services tonearly 10,200 residential, commercial and industrial consumers in southernMichigan. The utility currently provides electricity via more than 6,800 metersand delivers water and wastewater services across 5,000 more. Coldwater BPU hasearned a Reliable Public Power Providerrecognition from the American Public Power Association for providing thehighest degree of reliable and safe electric service.
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About Harris Utilities SmartWorks
SmartWorksis the innovation engine of Harris Utilities. Its portfolio includes two keysolutions. The first is MeterSense, a scalable, configurable and powerful meterdata management (MDM) solution that quickly manages and intelligentlyinterprets growing volumes of critical smart meter data. The second, CustomerConnect,is a customer engagement solution that gives consumers direct, web-based accessto account information and unprecedented insight into resource use, which helpsutilities demonstrate the value of, and power behind, their smartinfrastructure investments.
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