Blog Archive

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

AMI Project Opens Door For Energy Savings

A few months ago we kicked off an AMI (Automated Meter Infrastructure) project to replace all of our old electric meters with new automated meters that have much more technology, memory, and the ability to communicate via the internet. We already have nearly 2,000 of the new electric meters in place at homes and businesses around Glasgow and the project is on schedule to be totally complete in three more years. The really exciting thing is that we are already learning how to help our customers save money using this new technology, and, we started learning that at my house!

The new meters allow the individual customers to monitor their energy consumption in real time via any device that supports web browsing, at any location. The graphic shown above is just one of the many ways we are going to be presenting this information to all EPB customers as the AMI project progresses. Very soon, each time we install another new meter, we will be furnishing the customer with a link to a web portal that will allow the customer to see this information on their home or business.

A week ago, when the portal was being developed by Daniel Mooney and Josh Francis, they noticed the information coming in from my home seemed to show energy usage which was far greater than what is normal at my home. You can see what they saw on the graphic from my own meter at my home. The green line represents the energy which was being consumed at my home on February 13, 2012. The regular and cyclical demand spikes approaching 20 kW could only mean one thing – that my heat pump was malfunctioning and the electric resistance heat was coming on instead of the heat pump compressor to warm my home. This information alerted me to the problem and I immediately called a local HVAC maintenance firm to check out the situation at my house.

On Monday, February 20 the technician arrived at my home and found that the blower motor on my heat pump had failed, just like we predicted from reviewing the meter data. The graphic below shows that they repaired my problem about noon that day and that my energy consumption immediately returned to normal.

This event really opened our eyes to just how powerful this realtime power consumption information can be. This information just saved me about $400 worth of energy which would have been consumed at my home before I knew there was a problem using the old methods of being in the dark on my home’s energy usage until the monthly bill arrived. That gives us a number of new ideas.

As we continue to roll out the new meters as part of our AMI project, we are now also working on software that may be able to recognize equipment failures like mine and inform our customers within minutes. This monitoring could be another service we can offer our customers and another way for our customers to benefit from Glasgow EPB’s work to reinvent itself as an “infotricity” utility instead of just a power company. For many years we have been certain that the combination of broadband communications and electric power (creating the new version of electric power that we call infotricity) would allow all of us to save money on our energy bills while we enjoy broadband services which are vastly superior to any offering in any other small community in our country. This latest development seems to, again, confirm that vision.

Stay tuned for your opportunity to view your energy consumption via this new invention from your EPB team. We will continue to bring you the future . . . faster!