LaGrange County REMC has begun deploying a Sensus FlexNet utility network and iCon A electric meters for its more than 7,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across parts of four counties in northern Indiana.
Switching from a power line carrier service, LaGrange chose to move forward with the Sensus technology in order to obtain reliable, secure, two-way communication and load control capabilities for a significant amount of irrigation customers, which comprise approximately 9 MW of the utility’s load. Another driving factor in the decision making process was the utility’s service to a large number of seasonal residents, and thus the remote connect/disconnect feature was a crucial capability.
LaGrange CEO Mark Leu said, “Our service area is mainly rural, averaging about 11 meters per mile of line, so we were attracted by the range of the point-to-multipoint, licensed spectrum and the ability to place meters at remote locations without fear of network interference.”
The utility recently concluded construction and installation of its five base stations and plans to have the entire network provisioned and ready for testing at the end of January. The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) played a key role in the decision process, coordinating visits to other utilities already using the FlexNet system. Based on the success witnessed on these site visits, LaGrange made a decision to forego a pilot program and move straight into implementation, which is expected to be fully complete within the next five to six years as legacy meters are replaced with digital meters from Sensus.