Central Lincoln People’s Utility District Selects Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream

The utility will deploy Landis+Gyr’s Gridstream RF solution, featuring a network with proven communication capabilities for advanced metering, distribution automation and personal energy management applications.

Central Lincoln selected the Landis+Gyr smart grid solution after reviewing a number of competing RF and PLC technologies. One of the key reasons for choosing Landis+Gyr is that “it has proven, commercially available products,” said Bruce Lovelin, Chief Engineer at Central Lincoln.

“Everything Landis+Gyr showed us – including ZigBee® in the meter for home area networking – is available today. That weighed heavily in our decision because of the timeline we have to complete this project,” Lovelin said.

As the recipient of a Smart Grid Investment Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, Central Lincoln needs to complete the advanced metering deployment within three years. Lovelin said the grant will allow the utility to install a more sophisticated network that goes beyond automated meter reading to offer remote disconnect and reconnects, over-the-network firmware upgrades, standards-based home area networking and integration with distribution automation devices.

Additional requirements of the grant program include demonstrated security. Landis+Gyr’s multi-tiered approach to security that addresses data encryption throughout the network, combined with the ability to update Gridstream endpoints remotely was also a key selling point, Lovelin said.

“Gridstream offers cost-effective maintenance and upgradeability by design to keep pace with changing industry standards and utility needs,” said Jeff Carkhuff, General Manager of Landis+Gyr’s Middle Market Systems. “For a utility like Central Lincoln that services hundreds of miles of difficult topography and isolated customers, a future-proof smart grid network saves hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Central Lincoln intends to offer many of the same tools for energy management to both residential and commercial accounts. Because Landis+Gyr offers ZigBee communications in commercial meters, the utility can provide those customers with a variety of access points to usage data and price signals.

“Power costs are only going to go up in coming years, and our intent is to provide a menu of services to our customers so they can monitor changing rates and have choices about improving their energy efficiency,” said Matt Hillebrand, AMI Engineering Specialist at Central Lincoln. “Our efficiency program starts with the technology that allows us to offer variable retail rates and provide services such as load control and thermostat control.”

Central Lincoln will begin deploying the system in January 2011 and plans to complete the deployment in June of 2012. In addition to advanced metering and home area networking, the utility will be looking into line loss mitigation, improving service reliability and overall load management.

Initially the utility was convinced it couldn’t get full coverage from an RF network in its hilly service territory. But signal propagation tests showed otherwise. Gridstream RF technology uses a powerful radio mesh network that has shown to communicate effectively in less-than-ideal conditions. The Gridstream technology is currently being deployed to millions of residential and commercial sites across the United States.

The Central Lincoln People’s Utility District is Oregon’s fourth-largest electric utility, serving some 700 square miles and approximately 79,000 people in portions of Coos, Douglas, Lane, and Lincoln counties. Central Lincoln is not-for-profit, and is publicly-owned, meaning it was created by voters to serve the public. More than 93 percent of the electricity that Central Lincoln sells is generated without creating air pollution: 80 percent comes from hydropower, 10 percent is nuclear, and more than 3 percent is from wind power.

About Landis+Gyr
Landis+Gyr is the leading provider of integrated energy management solutions tailored to energy company needs. With a global presence and a reputation for quality and innovation, Landis+Gyr is unique in its ability to deliver true end-to-end advanced metering solutions. Today, the Company offers the broadest portfolio of products and services in the electricity metering industry, and is paving the way for the next generation of smart grid. With annualized sales of more than US$1.25 billion, Landis+Gyr operates in over 30 countries across five continents, and employs nearly 5,000 people with the sole mission of helping the world manage energy better.

Dan Jacobson