Tantalus, a leading provider of Smart Grid communications, today announced that it has been selected by Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), a multi-service utility owned by the City of Gainesville, for a strategic deployment of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) communications network and applications for its customers in north central Florida. GRU will begin initial deployment of TUNet® - the Tantalus Utility Network – along with Itron (Nasdaq:ITRI) CENTRON® II advanced meters to support a wide range of integrated applications such as remote disconnect/reconnect, consumer energy portals, proactive outage management, Distribution Automation (DA), and voltage monitoring. TUNet will also collect data from water and gas meters equipped with Itron communication modules that are a part of an existing deployment.
“The ability to gain so much granular insight into our system will make a significant impact on our business operations,” said David Lea, AMI Project Manager for GRU. “For GRU, AMI made the most sense for us if we could deploy strategically, based on very specific business drivers such as reducing the number of truck rolls we utilize on a monthly basis. We appreciated the fact that Tantalus offered us the flexibility to choose a cost-effective and prioritized deployment strategy rather than all or nothing.”
GRU will utilize a network design that will leverage a WiMAX backhaul for WAN and 900 MHz for LAN communications to TUNet devices and Itron communication modules and advanced meters. TUNet will collect all energy data for real-time broadband transport to the utility head end, where it can be integrated with existing third party applications such as OMS, CIS, GIS, and billing software. TUNet will also be used to facilitate wireless broadband two-way communication to existing DA devices in the field, which will help improve system reliability and enhance power quality throughout GRU’s service territory. This will also dramatically increase the timeliness of communication and overall effectiveness of these assets. Further, GRU will use AMI to automatically and remotely collect water and gas reads from existing Itron communication modules as well as deliver alarms and tampering notifications from TUNet-enabled Itron advanced meters.
Deployment will begin later this summer and will initially target new construction apartment complexes near the University of Florida. GRU will initially utilize TUNet’s remote disconnect/reconnect features to turn service on and off to these high activity accounts from the office, effectively streamlining operations and reducing operations and maintenance costs for the utility. Another short term goal of automation will be to incorporate customer portals which will enable consumers to easily monitor and manage usage, set up balances, and receive account notifications remotely.
“GRU is an ideal example of a strategic AMI deployment,” remarked Peter Londa, President and CEO for Tantalus. “We’ve been extremely excited to partner with GRU to hone in on very specific operational drivers and then customize their AMI deployment from both a technological and business standpoint. This approach enables us to deliver precisely what GRU needs to ensure the highest possible return on their investment. We remain committed to delivering a flexible system that can be tailored to a utility`s needs which is paramount for our municipal and cooperative customers.”
“Itron looks forward to expanding our work with GRU in collaboration with Tantalus. With this project, we are helping GRU extend the value of its system so it can better serve its customers and improve business operations,” said Lou Gust, Itron Vice President of Sales and Marketing for electricity in North America. “Itron is dedicated to meeting our customers’ needs so they can better manage energy and water resources.”
Itron and Tantalus collaborate to offer a joint migration path to two-way AMI for municipal and cooperative utilities in North and South America and the Caribbean. GRU joins the rapidly growing domestic and international Itron-Tantalus customer base which includes utilities like Inland Power & Light (IPL), Fleming-Mason Energy (FME) and Guyana Power & Light (GPL).