Over the past decade, increasing regulation of natural gas infrastructure has become a hot topic among the public, policymakers and utilities. Explosions like those in San Bruno and Merrimack Valley shed light on aging infrastructure that needs to be monitored. As a result, new regulations will require more frequent and detailed reporting at points throughout a gas utility’s distribution system.
At the same time, utilities are looking for ways to anticipate leaks and take action before such disasters occur. In order to capture the necessary data, utilities will need to collect pressure information frequently across their distribution network from pipelines all the way to home meters. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) enables gas utilities to perform this type of monitoring, but can be a daunting investment.
Making the business case to build the foundation for a smart gas system can be difficult for utilities, especially with such scrutiny over rate increases. That’s where increased regulations will actually help gas utilities justify rate recovery for their investment in smart gas. In order to comply with rising requirements for monitoring and reporting of pipeline health and pressure, gas utilities need AMI infrastructure. However, many utilities don’t want to wait for regulatory deadlines – they are looking to implement AMI and start reaping the benefits of it now. So, how do they make a case for the investment?
Smart metering can be a cost-effective first step towards a complete smart utility network. Improved accuracy and frequency of data collection is a way to demonstrate to customers and local officials the benefits of AMI. Customers appreciate being able to see their usage in near real-time, as well as having bills based on usage, not estimates. Local officials value the increased safety the utility can offer with improved asset management. The utility benefits in a number of ways, from reduced operating costs due to fewer truck rolls to more detailed data for managing their distribution system.
So, how do you know if smart metering is a good fit for your gas utility? We’ve developed a list of nine key questions for a utility to answer when considering an AMI solution. We’ve also included examples of how gas utilities in North America are taking their AMI beyond meter reading to better serve their communities. Click here to download the eBook or click here to meet the member of our sales team who can help you find the right solution for your utility.