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TPPA Marketing and Customer Service Conference 2009

TPPA Marketing and Customer Service Conference 2009

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TPPA Marketing and Customer Service Conference 2009

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  1. City ofGEORGETOWNFrom AMR TO AMI TPPA Marketing and Customer Service Conference 2009 Walter Koopmann – Presenter Kathy Ragsdale - Editor

  2. Objective Develop a general understanding of AMR and AMI, and a feel for some of the complex issues that need to be studied and addressed with an AMR / AMI system implementation or expansion

  3. Introduction Georgetown Utility Systems (GUS) serves the City of Georgetown, a municipality with a population of about 49,000 people. We are on IH-35, about 30 miles north of Austin and 100 miles south of Waco.

  4. 20,375 Electric Customers 18,038 Residential 2,057 Commercial 262 Lg Commercial (50 – 499 kW) 15 Industrial (500 – 1999 kW) 3 Lg Industrial (2000 and up kW) 19,770 Water Customers Georgetown’s Current Stats • 1.4 Million Feet of Wires • 26,879 Acres = 265 Miles = 42 Sq Miles

  5. What is AMR?Automatic Meter Reading • The remote collection of consumption data from customers’ meters using telephony, radio frequency, power-line, or satellite communications technologies. • Provides water, gas and electric utility-service companies the opportunity to increase effectiveness. • Increase operational efficiency • Improve customer service • Reduce data collection costs • Gathers information more quickly for work processing and decision making

  6. How it works • ERT receives a proportional pulse of energy/water consumed from the water or electric meter. It will store this information to transmit to CCUs, hand-held receivers or drive-by receivers. • CCUs, mounted on street light brackets through out the City, use two RF signals to communicate with the ERTs and NCNs. • NCN consists of Industrial PC and Radio Module • Radio Module is for communication between CCUs and NCNs. • PC stores and facilitates the transfer of data to head-in computers • Head-In computer system consists of the computers and databases necessary to compile and transfer data. This data transfers between the field interface computers and the CIS/billing system.

  7. The AMR System Parts ERT – Encoder Transmitter/Receiver CCU – Cell Control Unit NCN – Network Control Nodes Head In Computer System (Back Office) MV-RS/Mobile Collector

  8. AMR System History • 1996 Purchased AMR System • Originally promoted as “A Gateway into the Home.” • GTWN first in the nation to read both water and electric meters with AMR • Electric • 1997 Installed 9000 electric meters with ERTs • Today there are 20,642 electric meters with ERTs • 78% Read by Genesis Fixed Net Work • 22% Read by Data-Pak / Mobile Collector • Water • 2000 installed 9,500 water meters with ERTs • Today 19,430 Water Meters with ERTs • 64% Read by Genesis Fixed Net Work • 36% Read by Data-Pak /Mobile Collector • Less than 1% of meters must be read manually

  9. What it AMI?Advanced or Automated Meter Infrastructure(depends on who you talk to) • Enables two-way communication between customers and utilities • Includes the communications hardware, software and associated system AND the data management software that creates the network between the advanced meters and the utility, and the distribution of that data to customers.

  10. What is MDM?Meter Data Management • Necessary component of AMI • Allows the utility to use the data that it collects. • Provides a database warehouse that automates and organizes the complex process of collecting meter data, often from different methods, then formats and sends the data in an appropriate form to the utility

  11. GTWN’s Current Issues • AMR system is operating with obsolete technology and a failing infrastructure. • Network infrastructure no longer manufactured • 50% of meters at end of life requiring replacement • CCUs cannot be purchased to handle new growth • Mobile Collector will not be supported after April 1st • Loss of functionality • Inaccurate data • Non-responsive equipment • Inability to expand the system • Non-replacement issues • Increase in operational costs • Increase in manpower needed • Lost Revenues • Current CIS System cannot handle the new technology without upgrades

  12. Driving Factors • Legislation • Energy Policy Act of 2005 • Energy Independence Act of 2007 (required State investigations) • FACT Act (required implementation of Identity Theft Programs – Red Flag Rules) • Pending “Smart Metering” legislation • Customer Expectations • Improved Processes • Meter reading accuracy • Outage Management • Load Forecasting • Aging current infrastructure • Aging Staff (Retirement Pending)

  13. In the beginning…. • Established our “core team” or “steering committee” with representatives from across the City • Wireless System Manger (AMR) • Utility Office Director (Billing / CIS) • Controller (Money) • Director of Finance & Administration (Bonds / Funding – Sr. Mngt.) • Assistant City Manager – Utilities (Sr. Mngt.) • Water Services Director (Water Guy) • Energy Services Director (Electric Guy)

  14. Pre-planning • Held a one day planning session • Brought in unbiased facilitator to manage our time and keep us on track (Hometown Connections) • Conducted “down and dirty” needs assessment from both the utility’s and customer’s point of view • Performed a SWOT Evaluation (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) • Discussed major decisions for project • Established a tentative time-line for program

  15. Needs Assessment Customers Want…. • E-Bills and On-line bill presentment • On-line service requests (24 x 7 service) • Choice of due date • Current usage information and daily readings on-line • Choice of rates (i.e.: time of use for both electric and water) • Energy conservation programs • Prepay options

  16. Needs Assessment Utility Wants… • Work order system • Manages work flow • Calculates cost of service of jobs • Asset management system • Integrate with warehouse • Manages maintenance costs • Tracks and measures efficiencies • Interactive voice response (IVR) • Payment processing • Late notices • Usage threshold notification • Demand control • Work history

  17. SWOT Evaluation • Strengths / Opportunities • Custom Focused • Currently have daily reads • Innovative / creative with what we have • Willingness to embrace new technology • Staff Expertise / lots of longevity and institutional knowledge • Strong financial position • Weaknesses / Threats • Undocumented processes • Network unreliable • Limited resources to implement new systems • Possible resistance from GUS Board and City Council • Business case may inhibit changes • Aging Infrastructure

  18. Questions to Ask • What to pursue first….AMR or CIS? • Which will drive project? • Parallel RFPs and Implementations? • Turn key deployment of AMI meters or in-house over several years? • Will our current network be able to support the new technology? • Are current timing and functionality problems caused by the billing software or the network? • How much does a project like this cost? • How to finance? • Utility Bonds? • Performance Contract? • If there is limited funding, what do we eliminate? • Handle project in-house or bring in consultant? When?

  19. Decisions • Will start the project with a complete evaluation, by an outside consultant, of the network, hardware, software, platforms and the IT Department business function. • We will start the processes in parallel, but CIS will be implemented first. • Faster implementation • Too costly to interface new AMI to old CIS in the short run • Want to implement CIS before “aging staff” retires…two years and counting • We are assuming a cost of at least $10 Million, total. Funding will come from Utility Bonds, although we are still considering a performance contract. • We will hire a consultant to manage the projects • Have tentative established a very aggressive 3 year implementation

  20. The Plan • Strategic AMI/CIS Plan • Presentation to GUS Board for recommendation • RFP for AMI/CIS Project Manager • RFP for IT Plan Consultant • Select Project Manager • Select IT Consultant • Begin IT Evaluation • Project Manager’s Role • Needs Assessment • Process Mapping and documentation • Timeline development • Formal business case development and presentment • RFPS for CIS and AMI • Bid evaluation and vendor selection • Interface requirement and development and documentation • System implementations • We will run parallel on as much of the project as possible

  21. Tentative Timeline • Phase I: Procurement of CIS (Proposed completion date Q1-2010) • Timeline review and adjustment • CIS (and associated modules) RFP development • Bid evaluation and bidder selection • Formal business case presentations • Phase II: Procurement of AMI (Proposed completion date Q2-2010) • Timeline review and adjustment • AMI RFP development • Bid evaluation and vendor selection • Formal business case presentations • Phase III: Implementation of CIS (Proposed completion date Q4-2010) • Interface requirements • Timeline review and adjustment • Resource coordination • Testing procedures and evaluation criteria • Risk management and issue resolution • Phase IV: Implementation of AMI (Proposed completion date Q1-2012) • Interface requirements • Timeline review and adjustment • Resource coordination • Testing procedures and evaluation criteria • Risk management and issue resolution

  22. CONCERNS • Time-line is too aggressive • Funding will not be enough • Utility Office and Meter Reading staff will run screaming from the building mid-project, never to return

  23. Thanks to TPPA & City of Georgetown Questions ? Walter Koopmann PO Box 409 Georgetown, TX 78627 512-930-2580 wkoopmann@georgetowntx.org www.georgetown.org Kathy Ragsdale PO Box 409 Georgetown, TX 78627 512-930-3682 kmr@georgetowntx.org www.georgetown.org