North Carolina has a proud history of innovation and advancement dating back to the Wright brothers and their historic first flight near Kitty Hawk in 1903.
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EnergyUnited AMI Technician Terry Lippard installs a new Sensus Stratus meter as part of the co-op’s modernization efforts to enhance member service. (Photo: Business Wire)
This culture of innovation also lives in the electric cooperatives that deliver power to North Carolina’s rural communities. Electric cooperative EnergyUnited, for example, continues to find new opportunities for innovation in its service to nearly 110,000 members in 19 counties across western and central North Carolina.
“We trace our roots back to the 1930s,” said EnergyUnited’s Chief Operating Officer John McMurray. “We strive to stay on top of new technology in our never-ending quest to provide exceptional service.”
EnergyUnited had invested in a power line carrier (PLC) system to automate their electricity meter reading capabilities. The system delivered benefits for years but began experiencing issues as the technology aged. The co-op wanted to improve communication with meters in the field and knew exactly what they were looking for: a communication network to deliver accurate and timely meter data; reliable hardware and software to keep member costs low; and a partner they could trust to maximize their members’ experience.
“We investigated beyond the technology,” said McMurray. “We looked at who was providing that technology and how they could help deliver near real-time sensory information that would enable us to improve member services in the long term. We weren’t just looking for a smart meter solution but rather a smart grid solution.”
After a thorough search, the co-op deployed a smart utility network from Sensus, a Xylem brand. EnergyUnited also chose the Software as a Service (SaaS) solution which gave them a private and secure cloud-based environment where software maintenance is managed by Sensus.
“Besides functionality, SaaS was one of the big reasons we chose Sensus,” explained EnergyUnited’s Chief Information Officer Kathleen Hart. “Having Sensus manage our software upgrades has drastically reduced the time we typically spend on them. It took us three months to deploy the last upgrade of our PLC system. Working with Sensus, our latest upgrade took less than a month.”
EnergyUnited rolled out more than 70,000 Sensus Stratus® electricity meters within the first year of deployment. With the new meters in place and the ability to communicate via the secure, two-way FlexNet® communication network, EnergyUnited now receives near real-time data and insights.
“Shortly after deploying, we received an alert from one of our new Stratus meters about a potential outage and we dispatched a crew within one minute,” said McMurray. “Seven minutes later, 911 emergency services called us about the problem but we were already addressing it.”
The remote management capabilities not only improve outage response and save staff time but also lessen the utility’s carbon footprint with service calls.
“EnergyUnited recognizes the importance of sustainability measures and has eliminated about 450 truck rolls a month, which represents a 25% decrease over three months,” said Hart.
Read the case study to learn more about how EnergyUnited is using solutions from Sensus to innovate and stay ahead of customer needs.
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 solving critical water and infrastructure challenges with technological innovation. Our more than 16,000 diverse employees delivered revenue of $5.25 billion in 2019. We are creating a more sustainable world by enabling our customers to optimize water and resource management, and helping communities in more than 150 countries become water-secure. Join us at www.xylem.com