SmartSynch is providing its advanced metering system to Consumers Energy’s smart meter deployment to nearly two million electric customers in Michigan. The utility has decided to use existing cellular networks for smart grid communications rather than build and maintain a private network.
The deal makes Consumers Energy, which has a 32,000-square-mile service territory and serves more than two-thirds of Michigan, the largest United States utility to choose a cellular-based communication system for smart meter deployment.
The smart meter deployment is scheduled to begin in August 2012 and continue through 2019. In addition to the 1.8 million electric meters, the company is evaluating whether or not to install communications modules on around 600,000 gas meters in areas where Consumers Energy serves customers with both electricity and natural gas.
SmartSynch reports that its technology “creates a two-way communications system that will provide customers with detailed information about their energy usage, allowing them to better manage their energy use and their bills. Traditional meters just measure energy use and customers only get that information when they get their bills.”
John Russell, the president and chief executive officer of Consumers Energy, says, “We’re excited about installing these meters because of the benefits it will bring to our customers. We’re working hard every day to provide a good energy value to our customers. This SmartSynch technology provides the flexibility, security and options that we need to continue to provide excellent service to our customers and meet their needs in the future. As we develop our program, it will allow us to offer new options to customers and allow them to use our system to integrate new technology - such as smart appliances and plug-in electric vehicles - into their daily lives.”
SmartSynch’s smart grid solutions deliver smart grid data on all major cellular networks, enabling quicker, easier, more scalable and strategic smart meter deployments for utilities. Advanced metering also provides faster power outage identification and restoration.