Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) Path to Excellence ... AMR (Automatic Meter Reading) AMR is a rapidly

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  • Automatic Meter Reading


    Path to Excellence in

    Customer Service

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • AMR (Automatic Meter Reading)

    AMR is a rapidly expanding process in the gas, electric and water industries.

    AMR currently takes one of four forms in order of increasing capabilities and complexities as follows:

    1. Touch Read 2. Walk By 3. Drive By 4. Fixed Base

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Touch Read System

    Texarkana has used the simplest form of AMR since 1995. We have about 9,800 units throughout the system.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Walk By System

    This type of system uses a short range radio in the meter box to broadcast a signal on demand to a hand held device.

    Meter box

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Drive By System In this type of system a radio unit in the meter box broadcasts a repeating signal that is picked up by a receiving unit in a moving vehicle.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Fixed Base System A radio unit in the meter box periodically broadcasts to a fixed unit (collector or Gateway) on a tower or pole, which then transfers the data to the billing office.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • AMR –System Selection

    • Utility staff first visited a drive by system in 1993 in Alabama, but the technology was very young and very expensive. We began to use touch read registers in 1995 and to look seriously at drive-by and fixed-base systems in 2000. A utility staff panel of six developed and advertised a request for proposals for an AMR system in 2006 as a part of a more than $4,000000 project to improve the Texarkana, Arkansas water distribution system. After careful review, the panel determined that a fixed based system by Datamatic was the lowest cost, most cost effective and held the most long term benefits for Texarkana.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Datamatic of Plano, Texas • This company offers walk-by, drive-by,

    and fixed based solutions for automatic meter reading. Their fixed based system called MOSAIC was the panels choice for Texarkana. This system is a wireless self- healing mesh network that has two-way communications. The vendor offers a ten year guarantee on the battery and meter box units.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Key MOSAIC System Attributes

    – Fireflies are installed around the Gateways

    FFs are electronically instructed to form a wireless

    mesh network

    At this stage, all reading operations are completely automated.

    •In a MOSAIC system, collectors called Gateways are insta lled on poles or water towers in a preselected area . The Gateway s use optic

    fiber, cell phone technology or radio as a “backhau l” method to send the meter readings to the billing office.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • – Walk-by/Mobile AMR Collection Important during deployment of a fixed base system since the system can function as a hybrid (use Walk-by, Mobile and Fixed in combination) until the Fixed-base system can be fully deployed.

    Note: Although these are typically transitional states, MOSAIC can operate indefinitely using walk-by and mobile collection methods.

    Key MOSAIC System Attributes Flexible

    • MOSAIC supports Walk-by, Mobile and Fixed –base oper ation using the same Firefly meter box unit.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • • Each Firefly is also a repeater

    • Hopping – Fireflys transmit data to and through each other

    on their way to nearest Gateway

    – Each transmission (hop) from a Firefly carries

    up to 30 messages from other units

    • Directionality – Calculated by each MIU(Firefly) based on # hops to gateway & signal strength

    – Messages are retransmitted by MIUs closer to gateway

    – Messages are ignored by MIUs further away from gateway

    “ Smart” Attributes of MOSAIC Mesh Hopping & Directionality

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • • Redundancy circumvents obstacles and interference r esulting in an extremely fault tolerant system.

    • Fewer gateways are needed and less power is consume d resulting in lower infrastructure costs

    Key MOSAIC System Attributes Self-Healing

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • • MOSAIC routes data along multiple, redundant pathwa ys.

    • If any path becomes unavailable, data continues alo ng an alternate path, effectively “healing” itself.

    • Fireflys (MIUs) can use an unlimited number of “hops ” to reach a Gateway.

    Key MOSAIC System Attributes Self-Healing

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • • FIREFLYs store 240 days of interval data – Available on demand

    • Conditions trigger FIREFLYs to transmit interval da ta. Conditions are user-defined – Conservation violations – Leaks – Usage on inactive account – Usage on fire systems

    Key MOSAIC System Attributes Smart Endpoint Technology


    Water Meter

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Flexible gateway placement On existing infrastructure

    • Water towers • Buildings • Poles

    Very small – less than 2 pounds

    Key MOSAIC System Attributes GATEWAYS

    Deployment Flexibility


  • • MOSAIC can deliver actionable data to nearly every department of the utility! – Bill customers accurately & efficiently

    (Billing & Finance)

    – Monitor conservation (Conservation, Resource Management)

    – Find and stop leaks in the distribution system or the customer’s system (Field Services)

    – Complete virtual & remote cut-offs (Customer Service)

    ―Right-size meters, data supports system modeling & identify line loss

    (Operations, Planning)

    Key MOSAIC System Attributes Smart Endpoint Technology

  • MOSAIC supports full two-way communications

    Supports software changes and updates directly to F IREFLYs New monitoring schedules Update meter reading schedules as seasons/conditions change Change usage thresholds, permitted days, etc.

    Requests for hourly usage profile data for customers.

    Enhancements to MIU functionality New monitoring algorithms Support for tomorrow’s new meter registers

    Updates can be… System-wide

    Parameter-based (odd-even addresses, etc.)

    By Customer type

    All this can be done from the office without going to the meter box.

    Key MOSAIC System Attributes

  • Texarkana, Arkansas Pilot Map of Pilot Area

    Quality, Service, Economy

    The Arkansas pilot was placed in our distribution system’s most rural setting. The distance between meter locations was a good test of the systems flexibility.

  • Texarkana, Arkansas Pilot Mesh Network Deployment

    • Initial deployment in very rural area

    • Most remote & difficult part of service territory

    • Issues with distance between meters.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • • 1500 FIREFLY Meter Interface Units (in green)

    • 3 MOSAIC Gateways (in red)

    • 110 repeaters

    • Area shown is ≈ 11.5 miles x 4.5 miles 51.75 square miles

    Texarkana, Arkansas Pilot Project Mesh Network Deployment

    Initial Deployment Area

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • 1 2 3

    4 5

    Finished Meter Box

    Texarkana, Arkansas Pilot A Meter box upgrade and Firefly are installed by

    Joe Cigainero, Metering Technician

    Old Metal Lid Removed Meter Box Prepared For new ring

    New Ring Installed

    Firefly attached

    to plastic



  • Texarkana, Arkansas Pilot Gateways

    Gateways were installed on the three area water tanks.


    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Texarkana, Arkansas Pilot Approximately 110 Fireflys were installed in the Pi lot area as “repeaters”. These Fireflys were installed atop “stop sign” poles over water mains.

    Quality, Service, Economy

  • Visitors Texarkana has already had visitors from gas and electric utilities in Pakistan and the water department of San Diego, California

  • Texarkana, Texas Pilot Map of Pilot Area

    Quality, Service, Economy

    This location along and adjacent to Richmond Road was chosen for the pilot because of the unusually long time that it takes to read meters in the area.. This is primarily because of high meter density and high vehicular traffic. Area lids are cast iron

  • Texarkana, Texas Pilot

    The heart of the Texas Pilot will be the Firefly. The unit is an unlicensed 902- 928 MHz two way radio that will form the wireless mesh network. The Pilot will include 2500 Fireflys. Over a 5 year deployment period all of Texarkana, Texas’s approximately 15,000 active meters will have Fireflys installed. Firefly

    Water Meter

    Epoxy Connection

    Meter Register

  • Texarkana, Texas Pilot


    The Texas Pilot will have 2 or 3 Gateways (collectors) installed at city owned locations such as water towers, waste water lift stations, or fire stations. Gateways collect meter reading information from sev