To promote a more efficient electricity distribution system, the utility industry, as well as the 2005 Energy Policy Act, have called for consideration of advanced meters that measure electric usage on an hourly basis for all customers. This month, when its new data management software system went "live," PPL Electric Utilities (PPL) became the nation’s first utility to obtain hourly usage from its entire customer base – nearly 1.4 million homes and businesses.

PPL’s Meter Data Management System (MDMS), developed and installed by Nexus Energy Software, is providing data validation, process management, storage, and analysis of hourly meter readings, which are reported throughout the day by signals sent over power lines from all customers’ meters, primarily using TWACS by DCSI meter communications technology. With successful live operation of the Nexus MDMS, PPL has the largest operational system in North America in terms of hourly read data volume, and will be the most comprehensive in terms of applications that leverage the data.

“The integration of our advanced metering system with the Nexus MDMS unlocks the door to a whole host of applications that will benefit our customers and the company,” remarked Bernie Bujnowski, director of advanced metering for PPL. “The availability of hourly energy use information will enable significant improvements in our operations and, over time, enhancements to customer services.”

The Nexus MDMS is the centralized storage and control system for data operations for the hourly meter reads, and provides the platform for integrated applications for enhanced revenue protection, complex billing, forecasting, distribution management, load research, settlement, and customer energy management services, which will be rolled out over the next several months.

“We were very impressed with Nexus’ vision of what a meter data management system can deliver, as well as their innovative approach to both data storage and leveraging data for business benefit,” added Bujnowski. “We were also impressed with the smooth implementation, which took less than six months.”