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The Coldwater Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has chosen MeterSense and CustomerConnect, Harris Utilities' meter data management (MDM) solution and customer engagement solution (CES), respectively, to enhance its engineering, billing and service processes and encourage further consumer involvement in conservation programs.

According to Harris, MeterSense transforms raw smart meter data into business intelligence and enables utilities to improve business processes and enhance customer service. CustomerConnect, meanwhile, is a Web-based data presentment tool that enables consumers to access and interpret their consumption patterns.

Located in southern Michigan, Coldwater BPU delivers water and electric services across 12,500 meters to a population of approximately 10,200 residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) consumers. The utility launched a pilot project to test advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in January 2012.

The project’s aim was twofold: First, to test the capacity of the AMI software to interpret data derived from the polyphase meters used by the utility for its large C&I accounts. Second, to entirely replace its enterprise residential meters with smart meters. Shortly into the project, Coldwater BPU officials judged that  they needed an MDM application to gather, store and analyze smart meter data derived from the residential AMI, as well as to extract usage and billing data from the utility’s polyphase meters, Harris says.

Charles Bauschard, engineering manager with Coldwater BPU, says that once the utility realized an MDM was essential to the successful implementation of its smart metering solution, it temporarily suspended its AMI pilot project. With MeterSense in place and expected to go live in the summer, Coldwater BPU plans to resume its AMI pilot project soon.

“Once we understood that we required an MDM solution, we began to develop a list of functions we required from that application,” explains Bauschard. “On our large C&I accounts, for example, the process of reading meters, reporting billing determinants and inputting data into our customer information system is long and detailed. An MDM that can automate that process and ensure it’s done accurately every time is extremely valuable to us.”




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