Talquin Electric Cooperative, Florida’s fifth largest distribution electrical cooperative, is implementing new technologies for its advanced metering infrastructure and smart metering program that will serve all 54,000 residential, commercial and industrial members in its 2,600-square mile territory.

The co-op is in the process of installing Sensus electric meters equipped with remote connect and disconnect meters, which are being read by the Sensus FlexNet communications network.

“The smart grid program will replace an aging system that for 70 years required our members to submit their own electric meter reads each month,” said Jeremy Nelms, engineering manager for Talquin. “The new system will notify us when an outage occurs and when power is restored—an important benefit given that our members are located in a tropical storm and hurricane-prone area.”

After two years of intensive research, Talquin chose the Sensus FlexNet system, a point-to-multi-point network based on open standards, to support its electric needs due to its long-range transmission power via primary-use, FCC-licensed spectrum. Talquin also purchased the FlexNet Home Server software solution to support future program expansion for home energy management, using ZigBee technology as well as pre-pay billing options.

Smart meter installation began in December 2010 and Talquin estimates that installation of all electric meters will be complete by late 2011 to early 2012. Talquin is one of a few co-ops nationwide to receive an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for its smart grid program.