Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Consumers Energy set to deploy AMI

Consumers Energy is to invest $500 million in advanced metering infrastructure that will allow its customers to take advantage of the latest smart meter technology.

The system will integrate smart appliances into the system so that customers have complete control over their energy consumption. Customers will have the option to manage their own energy consumption or can allow Consumers Energy to do it for them. Participating customers can expect to save up to 10 percent off their energy bill.

Consumers Energy will begin installing the new system over the next few months. "We want to give customers choices," Maureen Trumble, director of Consumers Energy's AMI programme told

Beginning in February, Consumers Energy will install around 6,000 smart meters in Jackson County, Michigan in a project lasting until June. Customers destined to receive the devices will be notified of the scheduled installation by mail. Next year the devices will undergo testing and in 2011 smart meters will be deployed throughout the state.

To educate the public on how the new system will function, the company has dedicated a Smart Services Learning Centre at its Jackson County office. The centre has been designed to depict a typical apartment complete with living room, kitchen, utility room, and appliances but with smart technology installed.

In November last year, IBM had signed a service agreement with Consumers Energy to help plan, deploy and test an AMI and smart grid field pilot network. The project plan called for testing the AMI network's ability to support minimum smart grid functions, collect interval energy usage data for demand response analysis and capture operational metrics for full deployment planning.

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