Seattle City Light Reaches Advanced Metering Milestone with Completion of Communications Network

Seattle City Light achieved a significant milestone in its Advanced Metering program on May 31, 2017, with the completion of the communications network that will deliver energy usage information wirelessly from the advanced meters to the utility.

“Installation of the communications network is the first critical step for delivering Advanced Metering and the enhanced services it will eventually provide customers,” Program Manager J.R. Gonzalez said. “Completing this work keeps us on schedule to start exchanging existing meters this summer.”

Advanced Metering is a $94 million program that will upgrade the technology for about 450,000 meters in City Light’s service territory. About 7,000 meters have been installed already for new construction.

City Light’s communications network consists of 49 collectors and 340 routers that gather fullyencrypted data from those meters and deliver it to the utility.

When each group of meters is installed, connected to the communications network and activated, the utility will be able to collect energy usage information and generate customer bills without sending meter readers to customers’ homes. This will reduce about 200,000 miles of driving each year and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with those trips. It also will eliminate most instances of estimated reads that occur when a meter reader can’t access a meter for any reason, such as a locked gate or a dog in the yard.

Once the Advanced Metering system is integrated with other utility computer systems, City Light customers will benefit from automated outage reporting and eventually the ability to view their energy usage online along with what it costs.

This technology upgrade creates a platform for other possible enhanced services City Light could consider in the future, such as pre-paid accounts, billing alerts and alternate rate structure options that could help customers reduce their energy costs.

Seattle City Light Selects Landis+Gyr for Advanced Metering

An example of a Landis+Gyr advanced meter.

Seattle City Light has selected Landis+Gyr to provide advanced metering technology that will empower its customers with information about their energy use and enhance service, the utility announced today.

“During an extensive request for proposals process, Landis+Gyr demonstrated that they offer the best solution for modernizing City Light’s metering technology,” Interim General Manager and CEO Jim Baggs said. “These advanced meters will allow our customers to see how much electricity they are using and what it costs them so they can make informed decisions. It will improve our response to power outages. And it will help the utility be more efficient, which will help to hold down electricity costs for our customers.”

Landis+Gyr will provide a Gridstream® Advanced Metering solution that includes a multi-purpose radio frequency network, advanced meters and a meter data management system. It also adds distribution intelligence through advanced grid analytics software. The company will provide network management services on a contract basis to operate and maintain advanced metering system infrastructure.

The radio frequency mesh network features dynamic routing of messages that automatically adjusts for changes to endpoints and the introduction of obstructions such as foliage or new construction. In addition to electric meters, the network is capable of communicating with intelligent sensors in distribution equipment and streetlights, and can also be used to automate water and gas meters.

Communications infrastructure and meter testing is scheduled to take place throughout 2016. Large scale meter installations are scheduled to begin in mid-2017.

“We look forward to assisting Seattle City Light with their grid modernization strategy,” said Prasanna Venkatesan, Executive Vice President, Americas at Landis+Gyr. “Our experience in network management and grid analytics will help speed the transition to a more intelligent and responsive grid for improved customer engagement, reliability and operational efficiency.”

Landis+Gyr is the leading global provider of integrated energy management products tailored to energy company needs and unique in its ability to deliver true end-to-end advanced metering solutions. Today, the company offers the broadest portfolio of products and services in the electricity metering industry, and is paving the way for the next generation of grid management technologies.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.