Cobb Electric Membership Corp. has selected Sensus to deliver smart grid solutions to its nearly 200,000 members in the northwest metro Atlanta area and a four-county southwest Georgia area. The smart grid program will include the Sensus FlexNet advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technology and smart meters for greater operational efficiency, automated hourly meter reads and support for future applications.

Cobb EMC chose the Sensus FlexNet system because it is the only AMI technology that communicates via a dedicated, FCC-licensed spectrum, ensuring secure and reliable data transmissions. In addition, the FlexNet technology can easily integrate with other utility systems to support distribution automation, load management, time-of-use pricing and an in-home energy use monitoring program for customers.

The project, partially financed by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, also will include Sensus iCon and other legacy electric meters beginning with a 3000 endpoint pilot program in October. Full installation will begin in early 2011 for a total of 193,000 endpoints.

“Partnering with Sensus enables us to provide a scalable, standards-based solution that will help us more effectively monitor and manage the distribution of electricity,” said Chip Nelson, COO for Cobb EMC. “We will now be able to automate meter reads, removing an anticipated 30 trucks off the road, and leverage greater intelligence for applications such as proactive detection of outages.”

Cobb has planned an extensive customer education program to support the transition. Each customer will receive a letter before their meter is replaced explaining the benefits and reasoning behind the smart grid program. The utility plans to follow up with personal phone calls. The education program also will include brochures, door hangers and advertisements that provide additional information and resources for those with questions and concerns.

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