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Electric meter process advances in Berlin

An effort to bring electric meters to the Town of Berlin advanced this week with the launch of an RFP process.

File photo

By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer

The effort to bring electric meters to Berlin continued to advance this week.

At the Monday, June 10 meeting of the Berlin Mayor and Council, Electric Utility Director Tim Lawrence outlined the draft for the town’s request for a proposal for vendors to handle the design, supply, installation, and implementation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).

The utility director notes he has experience in AMI metering infrastructure for electric systems in a previous position he held with Manassas, Virginia.

An AMI system consists of smart meters, such as digital gas meters, electric meters, and water meters, that record energy consumption and send data back to the utility company throughout the day. The town recently installed water meters on all users and next up will be the electric metering project, which will be funded through a bond. 

As outlined by Lawrence, Berlin’s AMI system will perform “fixed-based automatic meter readings and two-way communication with electric meters; allow access to collected data at any time to support daily operations, provide customer support, and monitor system performances; advanced data analytics through a Meter Data Management System (MDMS); voltage monitoring and outage notification for the electric system; remote connect and disconnect for electric meters; prepayment services’ customer portal; and system integration with the Town’s existing billing system.”

Lawrence emphasized that keeping utilities reliable and up-to-date is imperative because Berlin provides electric and water services to approximately 2,700 and 2,900 customers, respectively.

“The expandability of a potential AMI solution is an essential concern,” the drafted request for proposals reads.

Lawrence maintained that control monitoring and outage detection are vital, which AMI will provide. “Just take Decatur Farms,” he said. “If the right side of Dueling Way is out, it will show up that all those meters are down, and that gives us a focal point of where to go look at the problem because we know where it’s fed from. We will be able to see that in real-time as it occurs, so we don’t have to go hunting for the problem; it will take us to it, which will cut down the amount of time the power is out.”

The system will have temperature readings, so if a meter becomes too hot, it will warn of a potential fire hazard. Also included in the AMI is a security feature to alert operators if an individual attempts to tinker with the devices.

Berlin intends to enter into an agreement with one vendor to provide a “turn-key” AMI solution, but the town may award separate contracts for any portion of the project.

The request for proposals notes that the scope of the work to be contracted will include the installation of the AMI system, Meter Data Management System (MDMS), a customer portal, the system’s integration with Berlin’s current billing systems, AMI testing and training, and annual maintenance and support.

Proposals, which must be submitted in a hard copy and an electronic format, are due by Wednesday, Sept. 11.

This story appears in the June 13, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.