Ravalli Electric Cooperative (REC) was the first co-op in Montana, formed in 1936 to ensure farmers and ranchers received access to electricity. For years, the co-op benefitted from using a power line carrier (PLC) system to automate the meter-reading process. However, as the system aged, communications modules failed more frequently, forcing technicians to make repeated trips into the field to obtain meter reads.
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Ravalli Electric Cooperative’s IT specialist tests a remote communication site on a mountaintop in Hamilton, Montana. (Photo: Business Wire)
“It got to the point where we had around 400 manual meter reads each month due to failures within our PLC system,” said REC’s Staking Supervisor Levi Dunn. “As it started to eat up more staff time and resources, we knew we needed to make a change.”
After testing and researching a variety of systems, including ones that delivered meter data over mesh networks, REC decided to go with the smart utility network from Sensus, a Xylem brand. The team, impressed with the system’s long range, accuracy, speed and outage management capabilities, soon moved forward with a full deployment.
“Since deploying, we have eliminated three to four days of meter readings per month with another two days of savings expected once our meter change project is complete,” said Dunn.
The real-time speed and accuracy of the new system has also helped Ravalli advance their outage management and response efforts.
“We used to be reliant on our members to notify us of outages,” said Dunn. “With the Sensus FlexNet system we are alerted to outages and can begin dispatching crews, often before our members have called in.”
Meter alarms, such as low voltage and overcurrent, can also identify potential issues which allow the cooperative to proactively address problems and ensure a high quality of service to members.
What’s more, the co-op is helping members meet their individual energy efficiency targets by providing hourly read data online. “Our members now have access to their hourly usage which allows them more control of their energy consumption,” said Dunn.
“As a leading global technology company, we have a powerful role to play in advancing sustainability,” said Colin Sabol, President, Measurement and Control Solutions at Xylem. “We proudly salute customers who leverage our technologies, innovation, data and expertise to help reach their own sustainability goals.”
Read the full case study to learn how the co-op plans to leverage their investment and better serve members.
Sensus helps a wide range of public service providers—from utilities to cities to industrial complexes and campuses—do more with their infrastructure to improve quality of life in their communities. We enable our customers to reach farther through the application of technology and data-driven insights that deliver efficiency and responsiveness. We partner with them to anticipate and respond to evolving business needs with innovation in sensing and communications technologies, data analytics and services. Learn more at sensus.com and follow @SensusGlobal on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to developing innovative technology solutions to the world’s water challenges. The Company’s products and services move, treat, analyze, monitor and return water to the environment in public utility, industrial, residential and commercial building services settings. Xylem also provides a leading portfolio of smart metering, network technologies and advanced infrastructure analytics solutions for water, electric and gas utilities. The Company’s approximately 17,000 employees bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on identifying comprehensive, sustainable solutions. Headquartered in Rye Brook, New York, with 2018 revenue of $5.2 billion, Xylem does business in more than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands.
The name Xylem is derived from classical Greek and is the tissue that transports water in plants, highlighting the engineering efficiency of our water-centric business by linking it with the best water transportation of all – that which occurs in nature. For more information, please visit us at www.xylem.com.