SmartSynch has announced the team who will help provide the advanced metering system that will form the foundation of a grid and meter modernization program for Consumers Energy’s 1.8 million electric customers in Michigan. Members of the team include GE Energy, who will provide the meter hardware, and Grid Net, who will provide the networking and metering software used by the utility. Qualcomm will provide the mobile broadband chipsets that enable cellular connectivity in the SmartMeters and Verizon Wireless will provide the communications network, which Consumers will use to remotely retrieve the energy usage data collected by the SmartMeters.
Consumers Energy’s selection of a cellular-based solution concluded a comprehensive process by the utility to find the best advanced metering solution for its customers. The company’s decision to use existing cellular networks for large-scale, high performance smart grid communications, in lieu of building and maintaining a private network, comes after extensive research and testing of available industry solutions. It makes Consumers Energy, which serves more than two-thirds of Michigan across a 32,000-square-mile service territory, the largest U.S. utility to choose a cellular-based communication system for the smart meter deployment phase of its grid modernization program. Meter installation is scheduled to begin in Muskegon County in August 2012 with installation phases continuing through 2019 across the utility’s service territory.