Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is an integrated system of smart meters, communication networks, and data management systems that enables a two-way communication between utilities and customers.
Deploying an AMI is a fundamental step towards grid modernization. AMI is the basic platform, which stimulates both motivation and inclusion of the end user. AMI gives consumers the information they need to make intelligent decisions, the ability to implement those decisions and a variety of choices leading to substantial benefits otherwise unavailable. For system operators, AMI is a means to significantly improve consumer services by optimizing the utility’s operational and asset management processes on the basis of reliable data.
The system provides a number of important functions that were not previously possible or that had to be performed manually, such as the ability to automatically and remotely measure the use of resources (electricity, gas, water), connect and disconnect services, detect tampering, identify and isolate interruptions of service, and monitor parameters. Combined with home automation devices and smartphone or tablet applications, AMI also enables utilities to offer new time-based rate programs and incentives that encourage customers to reduce peak demand and manage energy consumption and costs.
AMI and consumer services can achieve substantial grid impacts and benefits for both customers and utilities, including:
- Reduced metering and billing costs through a reduction of trucks trips, labour savings, more accurate and timely billing, fewer customer disputes and improved operational efficiency.
- More customer control over resources consumption, costs, and bills thanks to new tools (e.g. web portals and smart meters) and techniques (e.g. shifting demand to off-peak periods).
- Lower capital expenditure on utilities and savings on customer bills due to reduced peal demand and improvements in asset use and management.
- Lower costs for service interruptions and less inconvenience for customers, thanks to a faster repair service and a more precise dispatch of maintenance teams to the places where they are needed.