Open Systems International, Inc. (OSI) and Consumers Energy Co. have signed an agreement to collaborate on an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology assessment and field pilot program.

As part of the agreement, OSI will provide a SCADA and distribution management system for the Jackson, Michigan, utility. The proposed system is based on its monarch (Multi-platform Open Network ARCHitecture) platform and features an advanced graphical user interface with Microsoft.NET technology.

Currently, Consumers Energy is conducting a multi-phase AMI technology assessment and field pilot program, which includes the smart grid, to integrate and test different technologies. The utility’s program will combine AMI, demand response, load management, distribution automation and enterprise system integration.

The monarch platform will help Consumers Energy leverage its AMI communications network, reduce losses in its distribution network, and integrate “real-time” data into its utility operations through the use of advanced data presentation and analytics. In addition, OSI will provide its monarch platform for proof-of-concept testing, which will help examine how automated distribution networks operate with demand response programs.

OSI’s real-time system will be installed at Consumers Energy’s Smart Services Learning Center in Jackson. The center includes an AMI laboratory, where OSI and Consumers Energy will conduct interoperability, communications and system testing to assess the system’s performance as the smart grid’s real-time platform. The system will be on display along with other AMI technologies at the Smart Services Learning Center.

“As an existing member of our user community, Consumers Energy is a progressive utility that is committed to providing high-quality service,” said Bahman Hoveida, OSI president and CEO. “This collaboration is an ideal opportunity to investigate the real-world application of smart grid concepts and to prove their tangible benefits.”

Jack Hobbick, Consumers Energy’s AMI operations and implementation manager, said OSI’s monarch system was used to replace the utility control center’s energy management system (EMS)/automatic generation control (AGC) system in October 2008.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy Corporation provides natural gas and electricity to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.