Clay Union Electric wins Innovators Award

Clay Union Electric wins Innovators Award Clay Union's Leo Powell and Advanced Automated Meter Reading Systems have been working for the past two years to develop a low cost reliable automated meter reading (AMR) system.

The technology used that makes this system unique are the low cost, versatility, reliability, and the ability to provide a large amount of real time member information on request anytime.

The AMR units report back to an Internet connection at the Coop. The meter information is then available to the member and sent through a host computer at East River Electric then to individual mainframe computers for download and billing. The system will read 64,000 meters every 15 minutes. Each AMR unit will pass information through another thus getting around some of the terrain issues and eliminating the need for repeaters or booster.

The AMR system, to date has the capability to monitor power quality, power outage information, meter tampering, time of use demand data and more.

Powell, with the help of Cary Logan with Dakota Supply had an idea, made a trip to Advanced AMR in Boston and worked out their ideas to build the system for Clay Union Electric. With the help of East River Electric's Chuck Loshsandt, information and technologies manager, and Powell it is becoming a multi-coop use system.

"The Technology and Integration Committee and the East River Cooperative Service Alliance are helping member systems, as a partnership, save money through group ideas and material discounts through volume purchase to gain efficiencies and to share knowledge on a number of technology related issues" Loshsandt said.

According to Powell, "Clay Union's AMR system was a team effort among its employee group and could not have been developed without the help and support of East River Electric."

Powell stated that this project shows the power of the human connection and how the cooperative way helps us achieve success through Touchstone Energy.

Because of all the cooperation and help, Clay Union received a national "Certificate of Merit" award. This award recognizes leadership of electric cooperatives in adopting new technologies to improve customer service and satisfaction.

The Cooperative Research Network announced the award during the National NRECA/Touchstone Energy Connect 2005 Conference on May 17 in New Orleans.

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