AMI Deployments

Every good Boy Scout knows that preparedness is the key to success. Utilities across North America are taking that Boy Scout pledge as they're learning that preparedness is also one of the keys to success in AMI deployment.

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Every good Boy Scout knows that preparedness is the key to success. Utilities across North America are taking that Boy Scout pledge as they're learning that preparedness is also one of the keys to success in AMI deployment.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-signed into law in early 2009-includes measures to modernize the energy and communication infrastructure, including AMI, smart metering and smart grid programs. A large percentage of that funding will be distributed this year to utilities and other energy providers.

Brooks UP offers a full range of AMI products.

The AMI deployments will require the replacement of millions of metering endpoints, locking rings and seals and perhaps a requirement to upgrade the meter installation type with conversion adapters.

"Advance planning is critical to a successful deployment," said Brooks Utility Products (Brooks UP) President Jeff Hanft. "Because the full extent of a deployment may not be known, many times a utility ends up lacking essential equipment for efficiently programming, installing and securing meters. These are steps that, without an adequate supply of conversion products, can seriously delay a deployment program."

Brooks UP supplies a complete line of metering-related products for the utility industry. The company has completed more than 20 million product endpoint deployments to utilities throughout the United States.

Brooks UP can provide portable, single-station warm-up stands that allow for in-route initialization, which shortens on-site installation time. These mobile units can also be paired with a field test standard to verify meter accuracy.

Brooks UP can assist with conversion planning and locking strategies at the very beginning of an AMI deployment to determine the scope of the project and equipment needs for the project.

"Conversion products are needed at every step of deployment, from warm-up boards for programming and meter conversion adapters to safety, testing equipment and security products," Hanft said. "Ideally, we'll plan for all the products necessary for the complete deployment. But we also maintain an extensive inventory of products so utilities will have what they need, when they need it."

The company recently completed an expansion of its headquarters facilities, adding 35 percent in manufacturing and warehouse space. "This expansion helps us to meet the very high demand for AMI products, as well as offering additional space for new product development," Hanft said.

Warm-up boards in the shop can help to safely maintain the program and battery life of the meter.

More robotic operations for production of barrel locks have been added and additional work cells were constructed for assembly of meter interbase, meter form conversion and socket upgrade adapters. In addition, Brooks UP has expanded its customer service, engineering and new product research and development capabilities.

Brooks UP features a full line of durable, long service life indicative seals, including the High Security Padlock seal that provides an additional level of security.

Brooks UP offers a wide range of AMI deployment products.

Change-out Adapters: For quick, safe and economical conversion to socket-type meters, Brooks UP provides a full line of conversion adapters, including A-base to socket, B-base to socket, K-base to socket, "tomb-stone" to socket and OB to socket. Many models include a full dead-front safety shield and are UL listed.

Warm-up Stands: Verifying the communications capabilities and programming large quantities of meters can strain a utility's resources. Warm-up boards in the shop can help to safely maintain the program and battery life of the meter. Brooks UP offers warm-up boards in wall-mounted, flat-top and A-frame designs for six to 48 meter locations or more. Meter warm-up boards are available with individual controls or controls that power banks of six or more meters at a time, applying 120 to 600 volts directly to the meter for programming of electronic registers. In addition, Brooks UP can provide portable, single-station warm-up stands that allow for in-route initialization, which shortens on-site installation time. These mobile units can also be paired with a field test standard to verify meter accuracy.

Security Products: Brooks UP features a full line of durable, long service life indicative seals, including the High Security Padlock seal that provides an additional level of security. Also available is a full line of stainless and hardened steel meter sealing and locking rings, ringless-style locking devices and barrel locks for on-site protection of meters that are visited less frequently post deployment. For high volume residential change-outs, Brooks UP's low-cost, medium protection Trigger Ring design combines a stainless steel ring and housing to accept a barrel lock for additional locking security.

"Brooks UP offers critical technical support and a broad portfolio of deployment products," said Hanft. "We take a scouting-like approach to preparing ourselves for all the contingencies in AMI deployment. And because we are prepared, we can assure that utilities will be prepared as well."

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