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January 31, 2013

GE Whiz! New Smart Grid Product Monitors Vast Service Territory



GE’s Digital Energy Business is offering a new monitoring product that will suit the needs of utilities in today’s high-risk environment—no matter how far their territory stretches; or whether it covers urban, rural or even underground zones.

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The platform can monitor multiple distribution-sensing applications on one network, such as smart meters, transformers, fault circuit indicators and other grid assets, as it is supported by San Diego-based On-Ramp Wireless, a specialist in wide-area, machine-to-machine connectivity.

But get ready: The product name is quite a mouthful. GE introduced it at the DistribuTECH meeting this week in San Diego as the Grid IQ Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Point-to-Multipoint (P2MP) solution—or Grid IQ AMI P2MP, for short. The company says the platform:

  • Offers secure, scalable, high-capacity coverage of a utility’s total service territory and assets
  • Monitors multiple applications on a single network, using On-Ramp’s wireless technology
  • Includes GE’s Smart Metering Operations Suite (SMOS), to help collect, process and analyze metering data and help consumers understand their energy usage.

To put the platform to the test, in rural Minnesota, East Central Energy (ECE) has launched a Grid IQ AMI P2MP pilot to assess the solution's ability to capture meter readings over ECE's 4,800 square miles of territory, requiring only 34 Grid IQ AMI P2MP access points.

"Without a long-range AMI solution like GE's Grid IQ P2MP, comparable levels of coverage could cost ECE millions of dollars in network infrastructure," said Linda LaTourelle, IT manager, East Central Energy. "The Grid IQ AMI P2MP solution, when fully deployed, would provide the coverage and metering capabilities necessary to maintain a reliable, efficient electrical grid for our members, while greatly reducing the time it takes to realize a return on our initial investment."

Because On-Ramp’s next-generation wireless technology enables the Grid IQ AMI P2MP to monitor multiple distribution-sensing applications, a utility can observe and analyze complete data on the backend to improve grid reliability and outage prevention.

The platform meets or exceeds all grid modernization communication requirements, including those recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These requirements include specific security guarantees, reliable data delivery, redundancy, availability, remote upgradeability, logging, event alarms, a greater-than 20-year battery life for certain applications and complete network management capabilities.

The Grid IQ AMI P2MP solution and SMOS are part of GE's comprehensive advanced metering infrastructure solution portfolio, which includes smart meters, communication solutions and software applications. 

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Edited by Braden Becker
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