Washington Utility Picks TWACS Power-Line System

The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD), which has served the largest county in Washington for more than 60 years, recently began a two-year advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project and has chosen the Aclara™Two-Way Automatic Communications System (TWACS®) to transmit information over power lines.

The PUD will use the system to collect interval data from 22,000 electric meters and perform outage management and engineering analysis. In addition to providing regular meter reading, the system will offer immediate access to information about loads, voltages, meter tampering, and outages.

"We focused on finding a solution that was mature and that had the bugs worked out of it," said Doug Adams, manager of Operations for PUD. "We were also constrained by our terrain, which consists of a series of peaks and valleys, to power-line technology," added Adams. "The TWACS technology worked flawlessly for us in a pilot project done with the help of Okanogan Electric Cooperative, a neighboring utility."

PUD shares a substation with Okanogan Electric Cooperative.

PUD primarily moved to AMI to change from bimonthly to monthly billing, which will improve the utilities cash flow and prevent the large two-month winter bills for customers as well as eliminate estimated reads.

Okanogan is using TWACS PROasys™ software to pinpoint the extent of outages. The software works by signaling meters to determine which ones are working. The utility also will use iVUE software from the National Information Solutions Cooperative to help map the location of outages as well as to dispatch repair crews.

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