Unlocking the service, efficiency and operational opportunities of a next-generation advanced metering infrastructure.

Over the past two decades, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) has changed the face of the utility industry, eliminating or reducing manual meter readings, improving interval data capabilities and enabling two-way communication between utilities and consumers.

While these capabilities were groundbreaking at the time of deployment, many first-generation components now lack

the digital and technological maturity needed to adequately address the challenges of the current business landscape.

Unlocking the benefits of Next-Gen AMI

AMI is an integrated system of smart meters, communications infrastructure, applications and data management technologies that drive value for utilities and their stakeholders by enabling new services and increasing efficiency, preparedness, reliability and security.
Next-Gen AMI includes AMI refresh for gas and electric utilities and initial deployments of water utilities and municipalities, all enabled by modern technology. Next- generation AMI builds upon the original promise of the metering infrastructure. It incorporates data, advanced analytics and intelligent automation applications to further improve operational efficiency, reduced operating costs for metering and billing, accelerated responses to outages and improved safety.

The business benefits of the initial deployments focused on improving customer experience while Next-Gen AMI unlocks utility operations benefits. This second wave deployment enables a variety of new customer and stakeholder services, such as smart home energy management, load control, budget billing, usage alerts, outage notifications, and time-varying pricing. Finally, it serves as the foundation for business transformation and sustainability initiatives, including smart grid enablement, distributed energy resources (DER) and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

Why it’s time for Next-Gen AMI

The primary driver for AMI refresh is the end-of-life of metering and network infrastructure. Although replacement can be addressed as an operational task, forward-looking utilities are launching next-generation programs that leverage AMI technology improvements and modern digital technology to address areas that are hard to reach, additional safety requirements and cybersecurity and data privacy constraints. In addition, proven benefits of the initial wave were realized but not all were achieved. Finally, an AMI refresh is a brownfield implementation resulting in key considerations for deployment and adoption.

Next-Gen AMI: The sustainable choice

Next-Gen AMI is an important component in digital utility transformation journey. A critical enabler of both the smart grid and renewable energy services, a next generation AMI helps energy organizations embrace new business models, transition to clean energy sources and otherwise improve the efficiency of the energy system. Further, in serving as a digital link between the utility and the consumer, this solution can help encourage people to lower their energy consumption, use service during off- peak hours and even shift to green energy sources.

Taken together, a next generation AMI helps create a more sustainable energy system—one that limits the environmental impact of energy consumption, increases the use of renewables, supports digital technology integration and encourages responsible behavior from consumers.

Building a Next-Gen AMI program

The first step in building a program is to define the scope based on the AMI lifecycle. For example, if the primary objective is to reduce technical debt from a custom build Meter Data Management solution, the program will be lightweight. On the other hand, if all aspects of the lifecycle are in scope, this requires an implementation and innovation phased approach:

  • Foundation and blueprint – Define business/regulatory case, scope, requirements, and objectives
  • Design and build – Define and build a pilot with a production solutions environment that includes the application and integration build
  • Run, scale and innovate – Execution of full-scale deployment

There are many activities in each of these phases, but the key takeaway is that this is not as simple as replacing parts — there is significant business value unlocked by a Next-Gen AMI program. I will publish additional articles with examples of AMI refresh programs and net new deployments.