Tuesday, May 11, 2010

JCPB Meters Get an Education

The Johnson City Power Board (JCPB) is one step closer to realizing its goal of building an advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) in our community with the successful installation of its first residential smart meter. While this marks a significant milestone in the evolution of JCPB operations, the nearly 75,000 meters in the field will take quite a while to deploy. For this reason, the JCPB’s Board of Directors voted to contract Lynn Edwards Professional Services (LEPS) to deploy our new smart meters and expedite the process while allowing JCPB crews to manage their regular workload unimpeded. Full deployment of the new meters is slated to end in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The installation of smart meters marks the beginning of a new era in operations for the JCPB. Their ability to both send and receive information to and from the JCPB will allow for a host of new capabilities which will ultimately lead to the adoption of true “smart grid” technologies. Unlike the JCPB’s previous automated meter reading (AMR) infrastructure which utilized Electronic Radio Transmitter (ERT) meters to transmit data to a passing truck, the new smart meters will aggregate their data from one meter to the next before transmitting it to receiver/transmitter towers strategically located within JCPB’s service territory. Once the aggregated data reaches these antennas it will be back hauled to JCPB headquarters in Boones via 220 MHz radio frequency. In this manner, JCPB will eventually be able to acquire multiple meter readings at defined intervals throughout the day. This ability will be essential for the impending transition to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) planned shift to time-of-use electricity rates.

Equally significant will be the JCPB’s new found abilities to connect and disconnect electric service remotely and to monitor equipment performance in real time. Ultimately, JCPB technicians will be able to identify issues with power delivery as, and sometimes even before they occur. Such capabilities will serve to streamline efficiencies within JCPB operations while ensuring the delivery of safe and reliable electricity to all its customers.

Watch for coming JCPB communications in billing inserts, newsletters, web publications and town-hall meetings where additional information on the adoption of new technologies will be outlined and where customers will have an opportunity to pose questions and concerns. In the meantime, please allow JCPB and LEPS crews the latitude to complete their work in a timely and safe manner.

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