Allan Connolly, President and CEO
The conventional electrical power grid system has served the end users well for the last centuries. Modern civilization demands this structure to be more dependable, scalable, and controllable while also being cost effective, safe, and interoperable. The next-generation electric power system, the smart grid, represents the full suite of current and proposed responses to the challenges of electricity supply. “The smart grid will revolutionize electricity generation, transmission, and distribution by monitoring electricity use in real time and make automatic changes that reduce energy waste,” says Allan Connolly, CEO, President, Aclara Technologies LLC. Hazelwood, MO based Aclara Technologies LLC provides the smart grid technology with Smart Infrastructure Solutions (SIS) to electric utilities globally. “SIS leverages the automated metering reading by incorporating a range of sensors, and analytic technologies that let utilities monitor their distribution networks and optimizes operations,” he adds.
Aclara’s Two-Way Automatic Communication System (TWACS) technology, a protocol for utility network communications, offers two-way communication to meters and provides timely billing, load control, demand response, and outage detection and assessment. With eTWACS, an enhanced TWACS network, utilities can acquire all daily reads and hourly interval data from all meters in less than four hours. “By expanding both data capacity and speed, eTWACS enables the implementation and enhancement of advanced smartgrid applications,” illustrates Connolly. The eTWACS network deliver additional comprehensive data and system-wide capacity, which further improves efficiency, reduces maintenance, and decreases operational costs.
Aclara’s TWACS technology has been industry’s proven powerline communications technology for networking millions of AMI end-points at over 300 utilities. For instance, one of their clients, an Electric Cooperative in northeastern Kansas needed updated meter reading and reliable load management system.
Additionally, the lack of remote meter reading and data retrieval led to costly maintenance issues and incorrect manual meter readings for them. The Aclara’s TWACS technology with Load Control Transponders (LCTs) and PROASYS software allowed the Cooperative to help resolve the challenges of load management and accurate meter reading. It helped the client to lower power demand during peak hours, obtain accurate meter reads, and identify outages without dispatching a crew, saving time and money.
SIS leverage the automated metering reading by incorporating a range of sensors, and analytic technologies that let utilities monitor their distribution networks and optimizes operations
The company continues to optimize network, lower costs, and boost delivery reliability with their operational data management platform. The company’s provides iiDEAS (Intelligent Infrastructure: Data, Efficiency, Analytics and Services), a unified network platform for municipalities facing stretched budgets, changes in technology, and evolving public policy. “iiDEAS gives the power to lower costs while improving service levels by enabling a smart grid hybrid network,” says Connolly. The platform further addresses low-investment iiDEAS modules such as loss analysis, voltage monitoring, power billing repository, thus improving and optimizing municipal services.
Aclara’s AMI solutions leverage existing infrastructure in sparsely populated or remote rural areas such as electric power lines, cellular networks and future technologies for transporting data. Also, in complex, mixed-density service areas – where the best solution requires more than one AMI communications technology – iiDEAS minimizes technology differences and maximizes synergies using interfaces based on standards like TCP/IP or MultiSpeak.
Having constructed a robust foundation in the energy landscape, the company provides a portal that gives their customers a comprehensive knowledgebase including documentation about products and services. “We offer support by phone, email, and through ACLARA_connect, a collaborative community,” says Connolly. “By providing access to Aclara University Online Learning Center and library, our clients can submit and track support cases, and online order tracking,” concludes Connolly on an optimistic note.