Utility Partners of America (UPA), a third-party vendor that manages large-scale meter installations, has safely connected more than 100,000 Texas homes and businesses to the smart grid on behalf of the Texas-New Mexico Power Company (TNMP).
TNMP plans to complete installations at all 240,000 of its customer endpoints within its Texas service area over the next four years. The utility's five-year phased rollout of smart meters began along the Gulf Coast in 2011 and will transition to North Texas in 2014 and to Central Texas in 2015—concluding in West Texas in 2016. TNMP is deploying the SmartSynch Smart Meter by GE, which uses a cellular secure wireless network for communication.
Above, TNMP’s service area, throughout which smart meters are being deployed.
TNMP will fund the $113.4 million project through a surcharge passed along to the end user (2011-2023). This rollout is part of a long-term statewide initiative led by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
Greenville, S.C.-based UPA works closely with utilities to establish formal meter installation procedures, with every meter technician receiving extensive training prior to performing meter installations. The training includes safety procedures that help technicians to identify and quickly address meter- and grid-related risks.
"The safe and cost-effective deployment of smart meters is an integral part of Texas' plan to modernize its electric grid. We selected UPA to carry out our installations because of its safety record and the quality of its technician training programs," said Bobby Roberts, TNMP smart meter project manager.
"Ensuring our technicians are well-trained and that every smart meter is safely installed is paramount whenever we partner with a utility," said Lee Schwartz, CEO of Utility Partners of America.
TNMP is the fourth – and final – transmission and distribution utility in Texas to install smart meters in homes and businesses across the state. Oncor was the first Texas utility to begin mass deployment of Landis +Gyr Focus AXR SD advanced meters to its 3.4 million electric customers, starting in late 2008; followed by CenterPoint , which began installations of Itron Centron advanced meters to its 2.4 million customer endpoints in early 2009. AEP Texas started providing Landis+Gyr Focus AXR-SD meters to its 1.1 million customer service area in November 2009.
Edited by Alisen Downey