Asset Management in AMI Deployments

Installing an AMI system means managing a profusion of system components

Routinely, water utilities might manage a few dozen, perhaps a few hundred work orders per day, depending on the size of the utility and other variables. This alone establishes a business case for infrastructure asset management.

System-wide meter change outs and AMI deployment brings this to a whole new level, encompassing potentially tens of thousands of meters, AMI components, meter setters, perhaps new meter box lids and more. It is an enormously difficult task to organize in the warehouse. In the field, the potential for problems is daunting.

Recently Aclara formed a partnership with Clevest Solutions to help their customers manage AMI deployment projects. Expanding on existing Aclara meter device management solutions, the partnership now brings field-level asset management to AMI deployments.

“A meter is a very important asset—the cash register to the utility,” observes Sylvester Moshiro, Aclara director of Business Operations/Services. “A detailed tracking system allows the utility to know the status of the meter every step of the way during deployment.”

The new partnership enhances field operations and work order management. Utilities can plan out deployment, optimizing several variables such as geo data, manage logistics, generate work orders for assignment and prioritize tasks. The tool also can provide real-time tracking of field processes during the deployment, and bring that information back into the utility’s office. This also provides an opportunity to clean up GIS data during the install. Supplemental data such as a photo of the old meter can also be included in the tool to address possible customer service issues that might arise. All the field information can be fed back into other utility databases, for example CIS and GIS.

“The solution supplies utilities with powerful tools for managing end-to-end deployment, including planning, acquisition, testing, logistics and physical deployment,” elaborated Moshiro.