Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) Project
What is AMI?
- AMI is an integrated network of smart meters, communication collectors, and data management systems that enable seamless communication between utilities and their customers.
- The City currently contracts with Corix to conduct 1.8 million manual readings of LBGO's 150,000 gas meters at a cost of $1.4 million annually.
- AMI is now a best practice in the utility industry. The Department of Energy estimates over 65 million smart meters will be installed by 2015. In California, every natural gas utility has already completed or is in the process of converting to AMI.
What are the Key AMI Benefits?
- Operational cost savings: A smart gas meter deployment offers cost savings through the reduction or elimination of manual meter reads which are currently estimated by generate 160,000 annual vehicle trips.
- Read Accuracy: AMI produces more accurate reads leading to revenue increases - AMI systems have a 99.9% accuracy rate. Companies have experienced 3% to 6% revenue growth, especially in water agencies.
- Reduction of CO2 emissions: AMI enables utilities to check meter status and perform an array of diagnostics, which reduces the number of times a truck is sent to the field and lessens CO2 emissions.
- Aging network infrastructure: Aging gas distribution pipelines pose a hazard due to potential leaks. A modern AMI system with sensors and smart meters helps to reduce the risk of failure by helping to isolate at-risk pipes.
- Centralized event monitoring: Utilization of granular interval data and a state-of-the-art analytics enables real-time, centralized system-wide performance monitoring ranging from pinpointing leaks and tampering to streamlining disconnects and final bills processing.
- Increased Field Service Safety: This enhanced communication increases safety for service crews and customers alike while reducing costs of unnecessary field visits.
- Proposed legislation mandating Smart Grids: In California, discussion is underway to implement legislation requiring utilities to track and incentivize efficiencies related to CO2 emissions and water conservation. AMI provides the granular interval data to assist the customer in understanding their consumption.
Enhanced Online Customer Experience
- Improved Customer Awareness & Satisfaction: Allows customers to have a better online through customer access to more timely and detailed consumption data experience
- Enhanced Conservation Tools: Consumption analytics of hourly read data provides customers the tools to help them conserve.
- Increased Customer Privacy: Monthly access to customer's property for meter reading is no longer needed.
- Improved Billing Accuracy: Smart gas meters provide more timely and granular consumption data, eliminates estimated bills and helps quickly resolve customer questions. Bills are accurate and up to date.
- Improved Customer Awareness: AMI systems raise awareness of energy usage through customer access to more timely and detailed consumption data which helps customers make informed decisions about conservation.
The project is estimated to cost $22.1 million over the course of the next three years. In addition to the Long Beach Gas & Oil and Technology Services Departments, the city is partnering with Sensus USA, Inc., Harris Utilities, Utility Partners of America, and Utiliworks on the project.