Recently FortisBC Inc., an integrated energy solution provider serving approximately 162,000 electricity customers in Canada, selected Itron’s smart grid solution to support the utility’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. This follows on the heels of BC Hydro, another Canadian utility, announcing its plan to upgrade nearly 2 million electric meters over the next two years. Both utilities expect to improve customer engagement and reduce costs through operational efficiencies, and a key technology is the communications infrastructure on which both solutions will run.
Earlier this year, Cisco helped rally the industry around the utilities need for an architectural approach based on open standards, that would address interoperability and cybersecurity across disparate systems. The Cisco GridBlocks ArchitectureTM provides such framework, and its implementation for the utility field area network is what BC Hydro and FortisBC are using to deliver multiple applications and manage devices over a common communication network. As these Canadian utilities modernize the electric grid they are looking to deliver applications such as automated meter readings, distribution automation, and energy management programs over time. And reducing Opex with a single communication network that can scale to support all these applications will be critical.
To quote Mark Warren, director of customer service at FortisBC, the utility sees
“great value in the Itron-Cisco IPv6 architecture and its ability to adapt to future smart grid requirements.”