Consumers Energy will become the first utility to purchase SAP AMI Integration for Utilities software. The new smart metering software will help Consumers Energy improve efficiencies and provide customers with timely information to help them better manage their energy usage.

Consumers Energy is one of nine utility members participating in the SAP AMI Lighthouse Council. Since 2007, the council has partnered with SAP to develop a new advanced meter integration (AMI) approach, which brings together end-to-end processes between the meter and back-end systems. Overall, this approach is expected to help reduce a company's total cost of ownership for AMI infrastructure.

Consumers Energy completed its installation of SAP for Utilities solutions in July 2008. Its current SAP software includes SAP's flagship enterprise resource planning application, SAP ERP, the SAP Customer Relationship Management and Billing for Utilities package, and the SAP Energy Data Management application.

Consumers Energy plans to finish its installation of SAP AMI Integration for Utilities soon. This is expected to help the utility create a platform for a future smart grid and automate manual processes.

"We're moving forward with this software purchase against the backdrop of a rapidly changing utility industry," said Sue Swan, Consumers Energy vice president of Business Technology Solutions. "Today, our average residential customer uses eight percent more electricity than a decade ago. This software will allow us to provide more information to our customers so they can better manage their energy consumption."