Orangeburg Implements Best in Class AMI/ MDM Solution

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1 Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities Prepared by: UtiliWorks Consulting, LLC. Orangeburg Implements Best in Class AMI/ MDM Solution Version 1.0: March 4, 2014 Authors: Carter Boling and Nicole Pennington, UtiliWorks Consulting, LLC. John Bagwell, Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities. Co-Authors: Todd Barlow and Kalin Fuller, UtiliWorks Consulting, LLC.

2 Case Study for Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities Profile The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has served the City of Orangeburg and surrounding community for over one hundred (100) years. Today DPU provides electric, water, gas, and waste water services to both its city and rural customers. DPU strives to provide its customers with reliable and low-cost utility services. The City of Orangeburg s population was 13,964 as of the 2010 census. The greater Orangeburg population includes over 67,000 residents. Orangeburg, South Carolina is located 37 miles southeast of Columbia, on the north fork of the Edisto River in the Midlands area of South Carolina. Challenge Orangeburg DPU strives to provide the best products and services possible to their customers and maintain cost of operation at the same time. In 2010, DPU realized metering technology was available to improve the services being provided to the customers and began researching the options immediately. After several months of reviewing the current metering technologies, DPU decided to modernize its metering infrastructure and systems by implementing an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. Implementation of the AMI infrastructure, metering, and MDMS along with the related business process changes will enable DPU to improve overall customer satisfaction and increase DPU s operational efficiency. DPU s goal is to provide customers with tools to view their bills and usage data. Customers will be able to make informed decisions on the amount of services they use and the related cost of services. The AMI/ MDMS will play a critical role in increasing operational automation and equipping DPU with tools to deliver services more reliably and efficiently. The capabilities from the system provide a heightened level of customer service. Faster outage response time, response to customer enquiries, and remote connects/reconnections of electrical service are some of the benefits the AMI system provides. Once the AMI/ MDM systems and electric meters are fully deployed, DPU intends to implement a PrePay solution to provide DPU customers with an additional payment option. Expected Benefits The following goals were established for the project: Empower customers to control their utility usage and better manage their bills Improve water, gas and electric distribution system reliability Increase DPU s customer satisfaction Maintain affordable utility rates in the future Provide a process to measure, report, and reconcile daily production and consumption To accomplish the goals, the Project Team focused on the following business objectives: OBJ_1. Reduce meter service expenditures for operational divisions (Gas, Electric, Water (does not include admin)) by 25% UTILIWORKS CONSULTING, LLC. PAGE 2

3 OBJ_2. Reduce Average Call Times by 25% OBJ_3. Reduce hold times by 35% OBJ_4. Reduce Customer Service OPEX by 30% OBJ_5. Reduce call volume by 20% OBJ_6. Reduce Reconnect time by 95% OBJ_7. Reduce Disconnect/Reconnect Truck rolls by 98% (out of Admin division) OBJ_8. Reduce number of billing disputes by 40% OBJ_9. Reduce Electric outage time by 25% OBJ_10. Reduce Electric outage response time by 20% OBJ_11. Increase Water and Waste Water revenue by 5% Implementation Orangeburg DPU chose to develop the AMI project with a phased approach, as proposed by their consulting firm UtiliWorks LLC. DPU made the decision to start with a Pilot project before proceeding to the full deployment of the AMI implementation. The pilot phase was undertaken to implement, configure, and test the AMI, MDM, and interfaces to the legacy CIS, GIS, and OMS. Redesign of the DPU business processes were also developed during the pilot phase. A major challenge for DPU was interfacing the legacy CIS since the original vendor no longer supports the CIS product used by DPU. The DPU staff developed the CIS side of the interface with the MDMS. The Pilot served multiple purposes including: Creation of a development environment for adding and testing of new functionality and configurations. System training and business process re-design for the various operating groups within DPU. System Acceptance Testing and User Acceptance testing prior to full scale roll out in order to mitigate risks for all project stakeholders. The AMI/ MDM project was significantly complex due to system integration, alteration of business processes, and implementation of new applications. DPU was involved in all aspects of the decision making and implementation processes. DPU employees were embedded in the project to ensure the Utility has full ownership of the systems and DPU will be able to leverage all of the system capabilities. The AMI Implementation project was led by a core DPU project team of seven individuals, but supported by resources from every area of the DPU operation (customer services; billing; IT; meter operations; management). UtiliWorks provided project oversight, project management/coordination, and technical consulting. The vendors supported the project with project managers, business analysts and technical analysts. Prior to implementing the pilot project, DPU and UtiliWorks developed a series of project assumptions: An initial phase of a small number of meter replacements will be conducted to verify system and infrastructure integration. This approach will also allow business process changes to be developed ahead of full implementation. 100% of electric meters will be changed out over the life of the project. The residential meters will require remote disconnect/connect capability. Meter change outs for the initial phase will be done using DPU resources. A 3 rd party will be needed to change out the bulk of the electric meters. DPU existing Fiber Backhaul network will be sufficient for the AMI implementation. UTILIWORKS CONSULTING, LLC. PAGE 3

4 DPU will add a communication module to the gas meters and leave existing gas meter in place. The level of effort required to specify, purchase, install, integrate, test, and deploy the systems and equipment for AMI will exceed the resources available in DPU. To ensure the project was implemented in a timely and comprehensive fashion, DPU with the assistance of UtiliWorks developed a project plan to address the pilot in multiple phases. The Alpha phase was designed to integrate the desired systems by installing and configuring the application systems, accompanied by a small meter population of electric, gas, and water meters which provided meter data and events for testing. During the Alpha phase the objective was to integrate the primary systems (AMI, MDM, and CIS) to achieve basic data collection and billing interface. A Beta phase was then undertaken by installing the AMI infrastructure and a larger meter population of 1,100 electric meters, 150 gas module retrofits, and 550 water meters. During the Beta phase, the communications with the meters was verified, the meter data returned was validated, meter event and alarms process, billing reads compared and the interface was verified to pass the billing reads to the CIS for customer billing. Business processes were developed and refined during the Beta phase. Weekly meetings, led by the UtiliWorks Project Manager, were held with DPU project leadership and the vendor project teams to provide project updates, address issues, and ensure project continuity. As issues presented themselves in the project, the focus was on teamwork between parties to work together to bring outstanding items to a close. Additionally, bi-weekly status review meeting were held with the Project Managers from DPU, UtiliWorks, and the AMI/ MDM vendor systems. DPU established a steering committee, consisting of the directors from each operational division in DPU, for communication of the project status and gain directional input.. Project issues and risks were tracked and addressed on a bi-weekly basis and also by the steering committee as needed. The main risks identified for the project were the interfacing of with the legacy CIS, and the performance of the electric meters. DPU was able to make the CIS modifications using the existing staff and by employing the services of a consultant with expertise with the legacy CIS. DPU choose to implement electric meters from a 2 different manufactures during the pilot in order to verify the meter performance in the field and with the AMI systems DPU specified industry standard interfaces be used where possible to perform functionalities set out in by the requirements of the project. Using MultiSpeak for interfaces expedited integration efforts. Additionally, the project decision making process and structure was established in advance of initiating the AMI Implementation project. The streamlined decision making process proved to be valuable to keeping Pilot phase of the project on track. The AMI Implementation Project consisted of two discrete procurements: the procurement and implementation of Meter Data Management System; and the procurement and implementation of an AMI system including both the retrofitting of old meters and the acquisition of new meters. The project schedule included the AMI Implementation project start date of January 2011 and completion by the end of The schedule was monitored closely throughout the Requirements, Design, and Pilot implementation phases. The pilot phase was successfully completed in the fourth quarter of 2013 as projected. As a result, DPU was able to make a decision to move forward with the full deployment of the Electric and Gas. UTILIWORKS CONSULTING, LLC. PAGE 4

5 Initial Project Schedule ID Task Name Duration Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q Q2 Q3 1 Summary 640d 2 Initiation Phase 45d 3 Requirements Phase 91d 4 Conceptual Design Phase 20d 5 Procurement Phase 60d 6 Detailed Design Phase 60d 7 Alpha Phase 40d 8 Gate: Go-No Go with Beta 0d 9 Beta Phase 80d 10 User Training 40d 11 System Acceptance Test 40d Gate: G/NG for Production 12 0d Deployment 13 Production Deployment 200d This project implemented various remote action functionalities which have benefits for reductions in field visits. The remote actions include remote meter readings, remote electric meter disconnections/connections and remote demand resets for demand meters. Additionally, DPU chose to take advantage of the meter capability to limit current for customers who are somewhat unreliable with their payments but need electricity for medical and other purposes. By not completely disconnecting electric services, DPU increases positive customer perception of the Utility and continues to protect DPU s revenue. DPU has been able to avoid many truck rolls through use of remote actions. This saves both the Utility and it s customers time and money. The ease of interfacing the Outage Management System (OMS) with the MDMS turned out to be painless for DPU. Integration of the OMS/ MDMS provided benefits immediately by identifying specific premises that were experiencing outages. When outages occur, the event passes within seconds from the meter to the AMI head end to the MDMS and to the OMS. The outage alert is made available to operations personnel before the customer has a chance to report the outage, enabling DPU to be proactive in response to customers. This has assisted the utility in speeding the outage restoration process. The mapping features within the MDMS, provides a high-level of detail with various views from DPU s GIS, Google Earth and other images. The multiple view option assists the user in understanding the location s geographic area as well as surrounding physical make up. DPU staff received both administrative support and user training on the functionality of the AMI and MDM systems. In addition, the DPU meter service staff has been trained on the AMI meter and module installation process and procedures. DPU choose to use their own staff to install the pilot meters so they would gain the knowledge and understanding of the AMI installation process. DPU invested more than 1,000 hours in training for the AMI Pilot implementation project. In addition to working with UtiliWorks in the development of the AMI requirements and vendor selections, DPU worked with the AMI and MDMS vendors in the configuration, implementation and testing of the AMI and MDM systems. UTILIWORKS CONSULTING, LLC. PAGE 5

6 The DPU staff has spent more than 500 hours working with UtiliWorks in the development of new processes and procedures to effectively utilize the data and capabilities of the AMI implementation for the normal DPU operations and improved customer service. DPU made a decision to implement a customer portal as part of the project. The customer portal was in the final stages of testing in January 2014, and will be available for customer-use by the time the full deployment of electric and gas is completed in Q3 of The full deployment of water metering is planned to be rolled out in subsequent years based on budgetary constraints. In an effort to stay current and take advantage of the latest technology, DPU made the decision to install the latest version of electric meters that became available in late 2013 for the full deployment. DPU also made a decision to upgrade the AMI infrastructure to implement with the latest data collection devices available from the AMI vendor. The pilot project has shown significant benefits that DPU will be able to take advantage of throughout the service territory. The DPU customer service team has embraced the AMI capabilities, including remote disconnect and reconnects. The customer service team is making requests for AMI meters to be installed on services when customers call in with issues ahead of the full meter deployment. The Billing department has discovered the meter readings provided by the AMI system are far more accurate than the manual readings. With the additional information provided by the AMI system and capabilities available with the MDMS, DPU will continue to identify opportunities and develop programs to further enhance efficiencies and benefits to DPU customers and DPU business operations. DPU maintains a continuous improvement approach to their operations and training to ensure the DPU staff will take advantage of new capabilities. DPU intends to use the AMI/ MDM technology in its mission to provide customers with excellent service. Customers will have more information to control of their usage and cost. DPU intends to also implement a PrePay solution in the coming years to provide its customers with flexible and convenient payments payment options. Services provided by other companies UtiliWorks, LLC- Professional Services Orangeburg DPU engaged the consulting firm, UtiliWorks to provide professional services to (1) define the conceptual vision and requirements of the AMI system; (2) manage the procurement of 3 rd party systems, equipment, and services; (3) manage the implementation, testing and deployment of the AMI project. Sensus USA Inc. - Advanced Metering Infrastructure Orangeburg DPU chose Sensus USA Inc. to provide the AMI metering and infrastructure. Sensus Flexnet AMI, best-in-class point to point, RF network is the foundation for DPU s program. Harris SmartWorks- Meter Data Management Orangeburg DPU chose MeterSense meter data management (MDM) of Harris Utilities SmartWorks to help the utility make stronger analytical decisions and improve customer service. Harris Utilities SmartWorks s CustomerConnect- Customer Engagement Solution Orangeburg DPU also choose Harris Utilities SmartWorks s CustomerConnect customer engagement solution that gives customers direct, web-based access to account information and granular usage data. UTILIWORKS CONSULTING, LLC. PAGE 6

7 Utility Partners of America- Meter Installation DPU contracted with Utility Partners of America (UPA) to manage the meter installation process with DPU staff preforming the pilot meter installations. UPA will provide implementation services for the full deployment of the electric and gas. Datavoice International- Outage Management System (OMS) DPU had previously implemented the Data Voice International s outage management system (OMS) to improve restoration times. The integration with Harris MDM allows DPU to monitor, analyze and react to outage more effectively. UTILIWORKS CONSULTING, LLC. PAGE 7

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