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Fixed Network AMI

The Aclara STAR Network advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system delivers robust data communications on secure, licensed radio frequencies. The STAR wireless fixed network efficiently and automatically provides timely data, empowering utilities to maximize meter functionality and provide superior customer service. Accurate and timely billing, high/low consumption reporting, and non-revenue water loss detection are just a few of the AMR benefits the STAR Network can provide - all at a low system cost with manageable operating expenses.

A choice for both the large and small utilities, the Aclara STAR Network has been successfully deployed by companies ranging from small municipal water systems to large investor-owned electric and gas utilities. In a consistently changing utility environment, Aclara and the STAR Network provide a solid foundation on which to build the metering solutions of today and tomorrow.

STAR Network AMI System

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The STAR® Network system is an advanced, highly robust meter reading solution that delivers comprehensive usage information through a secure, long-range wireless network using licensed radio frequencies. The STAR Network system provides the timely, high-resolution meter reading that enables gas, water, and electric utilities to eliminate on-site visits and estimated reads, reduce theft and loss, implement time-of-use billing, and profit from all of the financial and operational benefits of fixed-network AMI/AMR. The STAR Network can support one-way or two-way communication between the end-points and the utility headend.




STAR Network Components

The STAR Network Meter Transmission Units (MTUs) are small, permanently sealed modules that are connected to water meters or are integrated into electric and gas meters. MTUs read the meter and forward the meter data on an FCC-licensed wireless channel at customer-specified intervals as short as five minutes. These messages are received by one of several Data Collector Units that cover the service area.

  • STAR Network Water MTUs are compatible with pulse and encoder meters from all manufacturers.
  • STAR Network Gas MTUs are available for all popular North American gas meters.
  • STAR Network Electric MTUs are provided as retrofit and factory-installed versions, and are compatible with many mechanical and solid-state electric meters.

STAR Network Data Collector Units (DCUs) are intelligent network devices that receive, process, and store meter reading information transmitted from STAR Network MTUs. The DCUs forward this information to the STAR Network Control Computer (NCC) located at the utility. DCUs connect to the NCC by a variety of backhaul communication networks, including fiber optic, WiFi, and cellular.

The STAR Network Control Computer (NCC) collects, validates, processes, and stores data transmitted by the STAR Network DCUs. It provides billing, customer service, operations, and other utility departments with timely access to comprehensive account information. The STAR Network system also provides a complete range of customizable management and diagnostic reports.

Features and Benefits of the STAR AMI
Fixed Network

Features
Benefits
True Automatic Meter Reading
Reads entire system electronically without meter readers, vans, or handhelds.
Unrestricted Meter Selection
Compatible with all current meters. Allows use of the right meter for every location.
Enhanced Customer Service
Supports immediate response to customer inquiries based on detailed usage history.
Theft and Tampering Alarms
Automatically detects equipment tampering, theft of service, and equipment malfunction.
Multiple Services
One network reads gas, water, and electric meters.
Daily Reads
Reads entire system every day.
Eliminate Unscheduled Reads
Up-to-date readings for every meter are always available.
Usage Profiles
Automatically maintains detailed usage profile for every meter.
Low Installed Cost
Comparable to far less capable systems.
Low Operating Cost
Daily reads are essentially free.



The Challenge: Effective Load Management


Deploying and managing effective load-control programs can be a significant challenge for utility operations teams today. First, utilities must determine which level of demand is available to be controlled, and then identify and engage consumers and programs without breaking the bank. System Operators must determine when load control events are needed, how to achieve the desired level of reduction without under or over controlling, and how to avoid penalties or reliability problems. Lastly, utilities must minimize disruption to their consumers during load-control events to minimize dissatisfaction and to maintain the popularity and usefulness of load control programs.

What are your specific Load Management challenges?

Do you need to:
  • Simplify the dispatch process for Demand Response Events?
  • Eliminate the administrative overhead of managing multiple demand response / load control systems?
  • Minimize the impact of Demand Response events?
  • Increase your consumers' interest in energy management?
  • Effectively manage demand charges or capacity constraints?
  • Operate multiple types of load resources from a single platform?
  • Understand the true ROI for demand side programs and technologies?
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Solutions:

for Vertically Integrated Utilities

Aclara DRMS (Powered by Calico)

The Aclara Demand Response Management System (DRMS) enables dispatchers to improve load management for operational efficiencies, cost savings, and improved reliability. Utilities can dramatically improve upon traditional load control models by adding the flexibility to include various demand-response capabilities, provide powerful analytics, and support effective operations via a unified command-and-control center. The result is a best-in-class solution for dependable, cost-effective load management through superior information and control.

Aclara's DRMS provides a single point of analysis and control for utilities. It leverages proven software connected to Aclara's TWACS fixed network solution or other AMI / AMR networks to simplify and shorten program implementation, reduce cost of ownership, and eliminate the challenges common to siloed load control systems.

The Aclara Solution includes everything a utility needs to deploy a straightforward and effective Load Control Program. Core components include:

Aclara DRMS

Aclara DRMS provides utilities a one-stop shop for complete Demand Response management. Utilities can use Aclara's DRMS to create, test, execute, and fine-tune a variety of load management programs, while enabling consumer-driven demand management through a host of approaches and device types. Aclara's Dashboard and Analytics solutions improve decision-making by unifying all relevant data from inside and outside the utility and providing insight through advanced analytics and forecasting. Utilities can explore and adjust variables in near real-time to optimize energy. Aclara DRMS utilizes strong integration capabilities to rapidly mine information from a broad range of data sources, devices, and applications throughout an energy ecosystem - including existing utility systems, weather, real-time pricing feeds, loads, remote generation, mapping data, baselines, grid infrastructure, and demographics. As a result, utilities are able to fully understand consumption, quantify the impact of rates and programs, and identify the need for upcoming load management events.

The data infrastructure, logic processing, and analytics engine of the platform are the cornerstone of the architecture of this product. This platform includes an Enterprise Service Bus that stores, serves, and responds to requests from all other components in an energy data ecosystem. It also fuels advanced analytics and forecasting by aggregating data from siloed systems throughout the enterprise and provides the Aclara DRMS with the flexibility to solve specific problems within the utility back office.

Aclara Consumer Engagement

Aclara's industry-leading Consumer Engagement platform empowers consumers to monitor their energy usage and manage costs, while strengthening the utility-customer relationship. Consumer Engagement complements the Aclara DRMS capabilities, creating an effective way to manage DR assets and programs from the utility back office to the point of consumption. Aclara Consumer Engagement includes efficiency features such as comparisons, goals, and alerts, but also program enrollment and capability to drive Demand Response program adoption. It provides advanced customer care with insight.

Aclara Platform Services

The data infrastructure, logic processing, and analytics engine of the platform. This module includes an Enterprise Service Bus that stores, serves, and responds to requests from all other components in an energy data ecosystem. It also fuels advanced analytics and forecasting by aggregating data from siloed systems throughout the enterprise. Aclara's Platform Services allows the DRMS solution tremendous flexibility to solve specific problems within the utility back office.

The Aclara DRMS tightly integrates with:

Energy Markets - today's DR opportunities are expanding and the market for load management is evolving rapidly. It is critical to maintain a high level of integration with market entities to ensure things such as registration, price signaling, and control signals are effectively driving load curtailment initiatives.

3rd Party AMI/AMR Systems - data from AMI/AMR systems are used to help verify load reductions and provide forecasting capability. The Aclara DRMS can also utilize the AMI system as the control network of choice for devices in the field.

CIS/Billing Systems - a critical part of the demand response environment is customer and account management to promote positive user experiences both in customer service and for the consumers themselves.

Legacy DR Systems - stranded assets and isolated demand side management programs are two effects that can greatly reduce operational margins on customer initiatives. By integrating legacy systems the Aclara DRMS can view and most times control all of your DR assets from a single operations platform, viewing contiguous kilowatt resources across the utility portfolio.

Home automation and control - the Aclara DRMS includes off-the-shelf integration with a broad variety of control devices, including smart thermostats, load controllers, EV charging stations, lighting controls, HVAC systems, and more.

 



For Distribution Utilities

Solution for Distribution Utilities:

Aclara DRMS (Powered by Calico)

Aclara®, a leader in intelligent infrastructure technologies for utilities is the first utility industry vendor to integrate consumer engagement and demand response management into one robust and future-proof platform.
The Aclara DRMS (Demand Response Management System) enables dispatchers to improve load management for operational efficiencies, cost savings, sustainability, and improved reliability. Utilities can dramatically improve upon traditional load control models by adding the flexibility to include various demand-response capabilities, provide powerful analytics, and support effective operations via a unified command-and-control center. The result is a best-in-class solution for dependable, cost-effective load management through superior information and control.

With the integration to the Aclara's industry-leading Consumer Engagement Portal, Aclara's software platform allows utilities and their consumers to proactively manage energy use while capitalizing on conservation, demand response programs and in-home technologies - a solution that allows consumers to take a more active role in managing consumption, demand and associated costs.

The tightly-integrated and consistent approach to consumer engagement and demand response, offers utilities a low-risk, affordable solution with fast rollout capability, which has proven to be quite popular and effective.

The Aclara DRMS is a robust demand-response platform that provides a single point of analysis and control for comprehensive management of multiple demand-response programs. The DRMS' centralized dashboard is a unified operations center for program management, load forecasting, event dispatch, messaging management, baseline calculation and post-event management. Combined with Aclara's Consumer Engagement solutions, consumers now have the tools to better understand and make choices regarding their electricity use through applications for efficiency, bill comparison and analysis, AMI data presentment, energy and water management, consumer alerts and goal. Consumers have secure access to this portal through devices that includes computers, mobile devices and in-home displays.

The Aclara DRMS provides a single point of analysis and control for utilities. It also leverages proven software connected to Aclara's TWACS fixed network solution to simplify and shorten program implementation, reduce cost of ownership, and eliminate the challenges common to siloed load control systems.

The Aclara solution includes everything a utility needs to deploy a straightforward and effective Load Control Program. Core components include:

Aclara DRMS

Aclara DRMS provides utilities a one-stop shop for complete Demand Response management. Utilities can use Aclara's DRMS to create, test, execute, and fine-tune a variety of load management programs, while enabling consumer-driven demand management through a host of approaches and device types. Aclara's Dashboard and Analytics solutions improve decision making by unifying all relevant data from inside and outside the utility, providing insight through advanced analytics and forecasting. Utilities can explore and adjust variables in near real-time to optimize energy. Aclara DRMS utilizes the unique integration capabilities to rapidly mine information from a broad range of data sources, devices, and applications throughout an energy ecosystem - including existing utility systems, weather, real-time pricing feeds, loads, remote generation, mapping data, baselines, grid infrastructure, and demographics. As a result, utilities are able to fully understand consumption, quantify the impact of rates and programs, and identify the need for upcoming load management events.

The data infrastructure, logic processing, and analytics engine of the platform are the cornerstone of the architecture of this product. This platform includes an Enterprise Service Bus that stores, serves, and responds to requests from all other components in an energy data ecosystem. It also fuels advanced analytics and forecasting by aggregating data from siloed systems throughout the enterprise and provides the Aclara DRMS with the flexibility to solve specific problems within the utility back office.

Aclara Consumer Engagement

Aclara's industry-leading Consumer Engagement Portal empowers consumers to monitor their energy usage and manage costs, while strengthening the utility-consumer relationship. Consumer Engagement complements Aclara DRMS' capabilities, creating an effective way to manage DR assets and programs from the utility back office down to the point of consumption. Aclara Consumer Engagement includes efficiency features such as comparisons, goals, and alerts, but also program enrollment and capability to drive DR program adoption. It provides advanced customer care with insight.

The Aclara DRMS tightly integrates with:

image_dist_utilities4 TWACS® technology - provides a two-way data collection network. In addition, it provides a robust data integration, storage, and management solution.

Other Third-party AMI / AMR Networks - The Aclara DRMS can also integrate with other existing third-party networks.

Wholesale Market Systems - the economics for today's distribution utility can vary greatly in regards to demand response. Often times it is necessary to include the wholesale provider in program design in order to ensure a balanced share of the DR value pool. The Aclara DRMS can integrate directly with wholesale providers to implement a hub & spoke methodology of control and reporting, or to facilitate appropriate responses to signals from the wholesale provider's operations center.

CIS/Billing Systems - a critical part of the demand response environment is customer and account management to promote positive user experiences both in customer service and for the consumers themselves.

Home automation and control - the Aclara DRMS includes off-the-shelf integration with a broad variety of control devices, including smart / programmable thermostats, load controllers, EV charging stations, lighting controls, HVAC systems, and more