In early 2017, Gallatin Public Utilities launched a large Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project for both their water and gas utility customers. After reviewing the RFP responses, Gallatin selected Sensus/CI Thornburg as their preferred vendors for water and gas metering components and AMI system. The Sensus AMI system, known as FlexNet, can read multiple utilities including water, gas, and electric. Gallatin Public Utilities have approximately 16,300 water customers and 15,500 gas customers, so providing GPU with the ability to collect all of these reads remotely was critical in the RFP response.
Along with the Sensus FlexNet system, GPU opted to purchase the Sensus iPerl meter. The iPerl is solid state mag meter with a 20-year new meter accuracy guarantee and capable of picking up low water flows starting at 0.03 GPM. It can detect abnormal flows, including customer leak alarms. Once an alarm is triggered within the register, the MXU will send the alarm through the FlexNet system back to the Utility.
At the foundation of a FlexNet system, Sensus offers a primary licensed radio frequency. This frequency allows Sensus to design a robust network with fewer collector units than other competitive systems. Because FlexNet customers get the benefit of being the only license holder for a specific radio frequency within their metering system, they can take advantage of powerful base station collector units and 2-watt meter transceiver units (MXUs). Sensus performed a propagation study and developed a network design for GPU that consisted of six base station collector units to cover 98.5% of their service area.
Leveraging the FlexNet communication network, GPU decided to invest in the Sensus Smart Gateway device at the conclusion of their project. This device enables FlexNet customers to remotely monitor pressures, temperatures, levels, and switches. Alarms can be transmitted and forwarded to utility systems or individuals allowing for expedient resolution. Additionally, data accumulation can be analyzed to develop new insights into operational conditions. With two (2) 4-20 mA analog inputs and two (2) Form A digital inputs, the number of possible applications makes the Smart Gateway a flexible, powerful and cost-effective device to gather information previously too difficult to obtain. Currently, GPU is using Smart Gateway to remotely monitor pressures throughout the distribution system.