DTE Energy (Detroit, Michigan) plans to provide two-way fixed network Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to its customers and has selected consulting firm Plexus Research Inc. to assist in the development of technical requirements and other procurement activities.

DTE Energy plans to begin AMI deployment in the first half of 2007 and complete the fixed network installation within four years. The new system is expected to produce significant benefits for DTE Energy’s gas and electric utilities, and their customers.

Boxborough, Massachusetts-based Plexus Research is a consulting engineering firm that specializes in AMI applications and other utility “customer technologies” that reduce costs, provide new service options and enhance the overall quality of service that utilities provide to their customers. These large systems usually include advanced-technology, solid-state meters with built-in data communications.

“We have been examining the merits of AMI systems for several years,” said Robert Sitkauskas, DTE Energy AMI project manager. “We selected Plexus Research based on its reputation with other utilities and our assessment of its people, approach, methods and tools.

“AMI deployment will significantly increase the accuracy and timeliness of bills received by DTE Energy customers,” Sitkauskas added. “Customers will notice that we will have more information about their energy usage when they call to inquire about bills and consumption.”

The system also will improve DTE Energy’s ability to monitor and manage its distribution system to improve service restoration after storm outages and improve overall reliability.