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March 3, 2014
Fleming-Mason Energy Deploys Tantalus for AMI Communications Network
Kentucky electric cooperative cites TUNet’s unique hybrid wireless design as ‘best fit’ to tackle tough terrain
RALEIGH, NC – March 3, 2014 – Tantalus, a leading provider of Smart Grid communications, today announced that Fleming-Mason Energy (FME) has selected Tantalus for the design and implementation of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) communications network for its nearly 24,000 member electric cooperative serving eight counties in northeastern Kentucky. FME will also leverage TUNet® - the Tantalus Utility Network – to support a wide range of integrated applications such as remote disconnect/reconnect, prepaid energy services, voltage monitoring, and demand response through load management.
Deployment at FME is currently underway, and the utility is already realizing cost savings and operational improvements through TUNet. Prior to choosing to TUNet, FME investigated several competing technologies, including power line carrier (PLC), as a means to transition to automated and real-time operations. A vast, hilly, and heavily vegetated service territory combined with a low density of customers per mile made most AMI technologies like PLC cost-prohibitive. FME is utilizing TUNet’s hybrid RF architecture which leverages an ultra-long range 220 MHz WAN backhaul in combination with a terrain hugging 900 MHz LAN, providing rich and reliable coverage throughout its service territory.
“The decision to implement two-way AMI with Tantalus has already proven to be a timely and valuable move for FME,” said Joni Hazelrigg, CFO for FME. “This couldn’t have been better demonstrated than during the recent extreme cold weather we’ve experienced. We’ve been able to immediately leverage TUNet to help customers quickly review usage data to reconcile billing all while keeping a close eye on system power quality to avoid drops in service and outages during periods where our members relied on us most – the ability to provide this level of customer service has been invaluable.”
FME is also leveraging the use of remote disconnect/reconnect meters to assist in streamlining collections and improving customer service. The utility anticipates that the implementation of this application will result in thousands of dollars in savings from avoided truck rolls, quicker billing resolution, and quicker collections. FME will continue to integrate additional TUNet-enabled applications, including prepay, load management, and outage management over the next several years. Deployment is scheduled to be complete in December 2015.
“Fleming-Mason is a great representation of the type of public power utility that is served best by Tantalus,” said Tammy Zucco, CMO for Tantalus. “We’re fortunate to be able to partner with utilities like FME to address the specific challenges of implementing AMI for municipals and cooperatives, which means providing a network that’s rapid, reliable, and cost-effective.”