Hutchinson Utilities Selects Sensus for Electric and Gas Smart Grid Solutions

  • Posted on: 15 June 2011
  • By: chw staff

The Hutchinson Utility Commission has selected the Sensus FlexNet™ communications network as its advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution to secure accurate and timely communications with their electric and natural gas meters. Sensus will enable more than 10,000 AMI endpoints for electric and gas meters by 2012. Hutchinson is leveraging advanced metering technology to improve operational efficiency, support energy and resource conservation initiatives, and provide enhanced customer service to the residents and businesses of Hutchinson, Minnesota.

“Sensus offers a robust system that can monitor and measure both our electric and natural gas distribution,” said John Webster, AMI Coordinator at Hutchinson Utilities. “With FlexNet, we have a streamlined solution for supporting communications with our meters. The new system mitigates human reading error and ensures billing accuracy from one central location.”

Hutchinson, which partnered with Groebner & Associates and HD Supply in the AMI and smart metering selection process, will utilize FlexNet across its near eight square-mile service area to improve record-keeping accuracy and theft detection, take advantage of current smart grid development initiatives, and better manage and balance their natural gas purchases and sales. In addition to the FlexNet system, Sensus will provide Hutchinson with more than seven thousand iCon® electric meters and more than five thousand natural gas meter SmartPoints™ that will enable remote readings for both utility types.

The FlexNet AMI solution gives Hutchinson a dedicated communications highway where they can partition specific lanes to accommodate new features and applications in the future. Hutchinson plans to implement electric and natural gas load studies to ensure that the systems are correctly sized to maximize efficiency. They will also utilize FlexNet to improve their system reporting on voltage and outage detection. Hutchinson customers may benefit from future projects such as demand management, smart thermostats and in-home displays.

“Monitoring electric and natural gas distribution on one system is just another example of Sensus on the cutting-edge of advanced metering infrastructure technologies,” said Chris Wykle, director of gas marketing for Sensus. “Our system is tested and proven to be a solution for the future of smart grids.”