This technology provides customers with a better understanding and management of their consumption, and more hands on control over the cost of their monthly bills, said Jerry Forte, Springs Utilities’ chief executive officer.

Using wireless radio transmitters, AMR remotely reads customer meters and then transfers the data into the billing system, lessening the need for meter readers to manually gather utility meter reads each month. It offers daily meter readings, which has the capability to show customers a true picture of their utilities use so they can conserve and better manage their bills.

We combined AMR, Distribution Automation, Customer Energy Management and Renewable Generation to create the beginnings of a Smart Grid for our customers, much like those across the nation, said Gina McCurley, AMR project manager. We’ve actually been doing this all along.

Additionally to AMR, recently the company partnered with General Electric to install a new smart grid tool, an Outage Management System (OMS), to respond quicker to power outages and offer customers with timely restoration time estimates. OMS will expedite the restoration process by identifying outage locations and immediately dispatching crews to the location.

OMS will reduce the outage impacts to our customers, said Forte. It will provide better and more frequent communication to them, track outages in more real-time and ultimately get the power on faster.

Once AMR is complete, OMS will integrate the company’s smart metering infrastructure for an all inclusive package.

Benefits of AMR:

Labor cost savings through exclusion of meter readers;

Less number of vehicles will be needed for the meter reading process, lessening dust and emissions, and decreasing the displacement and harassment to local wildlife.

A reduction in operational costs;

Controlled meter reading costs;

Improved customer service includes:

Minimizing the need to access customer property to read meters;

Reducing customer complaints and damage claims resulting from monthly visits to customer site;

Call resolution improvement — billing complaint calls will be handled more quickly due to availability of more frequent meter readings;

No need for customers to read their own meters due to meter access issues;

Improved billing accuracy;

Fewer employee injuries, especially in areas with fenced yards, dogs and landscaping;

Current and future components of our evolving Smart Grid:

Advanced Metering Infrastructure;

Improved billing accuracy;

Call resolution improvement, billing complaint calls will be handled more quickly due to availability of more frequent meter readings;

Distribution Automation;

Electric outage management system that allows quicker response to customers during outage events;

Customer Energy Management ;

Residential customers can regulate their central air conditioning thermostat via the web;

Commercial customers can see consumption data up to the previous day or actual day;

Offers customers with consumption data up to the day before;

Distributed and Renewable Generation;

Help customers establish hydro, wind, solar and geothermal systems for added efficiency, cost savings and environmental protection.