The Appalachian Electric Cooperative (AEC) is a rural electric cooperative providing electric service to portions of Jefferson, Grainger, Hamblen and Sevier counties in East Tennessee. This non-profit cooperative is organized, owned and controlled by the 45,000 members it serves. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) furnishes electric energy to AEC at wholesale rates . AEC purchased a Tantalus Utility Network (TUNet™) and started its initial phase of deployment with 5,000 advanced meters in 2005 . TUNet combines a 220 MHz wide-area network with a 900 MHz local-area mesh network to implement a two-way, real time communications system. Data collected at each endpoint “hops” to a local transceiver, which then establishes a connection with the radio tower and, ultimately to the utility’s operations center [2, 3]. One of the most important benefits of the AMI system installed is the elimination of trips to remote farms and far-flung communities, which would result in immediate cost savings by removing high-cost reads, while ensuring that all customers within the jurisdiction received the same high level of service.
Tantalus announced that it had completed several AMI deployments within the TVA. AEC is one of the utilities who can boast full-scale two-way smart metering platforms that support interval and on-demand meter reads, remote disconnect/reconnect services, instantaneous outage reporting, and over-the-air firmware upgrades .