Nicor in Illinois
According to a press report attributed to Howard Scott of Cognyst
Consulting LLC (a utilities consulting company) as published in the
InternetWeek magazine of June 25, 2001, the number of AMR devices in
US homes increased substantially with one third of 31.3 million
homes in US having been fitted with such devices. Nicor Inc., an
Illinois-based utility will start an AMR project with 10,000
households in August 2001. If pilot is successful, it will roll it
out to two million households.
Nicor will use device technology from
NexusData. Pricing model for NexusData AMR implementation is
based on one-time cost of around $50.00 for each transmitter (as an
add-on to existing meters) plus $1.05 to $1.40 per meter per month
service charge. Other AMR device vendors are American Meter, Itron,
Schlumberger, DCSI, Hexagram, Hunt Technologies, and Innovatac.
NexusData devices are 3x5 inch boxes containing an RF device that is
integrated with existing meters that connect dials in existing
meters with corresponding dials in the NexusData device. As such,
new device can read data from old meters. In the case of Nicor
project, data will be sent by CDPD wireless network to a data center
run by NexusData as an outsourced service. NexusData can send
data collected from these meters to utilities' in-house information
systems through FTP, EDI or other data transfer mechanisms.
Allegheny Power, Maryland, Ohio
In mid 2001, Allegheny Power has started using
Windows CE handheld devices (CE5320s) supplied by DAP Technologies
for dispatch software that tells a meter reader all the stops on a
route. The units are 10x4x2 and weigh 2 pounds. The units are
equipped with keyboards - that was one of the considerations for
choosing Windows CE devices over PalmOS devices. Palm units
did not score well with Allegheny in terms of horse power and
multi-tasking capabilities that CE operating system has.
Presently, the core application is service and
maintenance of meters. Software will be downloaded into the units.
Wireless connectivity will be added in future - the unit does have a
slot for the wireless modem.