Central Iowa Power Cooperative Makes the Grid "Smart"
Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) is a generation and transmission cooperative serving 12 rural electric cooperatives and a collection of municipal associations in the state of Iowa. Working together, CIPCO and its member cooperatives provide electrical service to over 316,500 Iowans.
CIPCO collects power measurements each month for both billing purposes and planning initiatives. CIPCO used a process called “probing” that required field workers to physically collect meter data using an analog phone. The process was costly and time consuming.
With the sunsetting of analog support by cellular providers, CIPCO was faced with the challenge of upgrading its analog phones to digital devices in order to continue collecting data. They turned to GetWireless, a leading value-added distributor of cellular-based solutions, who was able to help provide a solution for its analog to digital migration dilemma.
After several months of field testing of four potential options, the clear winner was the Sierra Wireless AirLink Raven XT, which outperformed the other vendors’ products in terms of connectivity, data transfer speeds and remote management simplicity provided by the AirLink Device Management tools.
Powered by ALEOS™ embedded intelligence, the AirLink Device Management tools provide extensive remote management, configuration and troubleshooting capabilities, enabling CIPCO to monitor and control its network of wireless gateways from one central location, drastically lowering total cost of ownership.
“We figured that it cost at least $30 to collect a single meter reading before, but now our only cost is the $10 monthly charge for our cellular service,” said Chaon. “The Raven XT solution has also increased the safety for our field staff, who are no longer required to enter high voltage substations to read meters.”
The Sierra Wireless’ AirLink Raven XT intelligent devices have provided CIPCO with the following benefits:
• Cost savings – Remote, two-way wireless communication reduces operational expenses
• Time savings – Remote interrogation of meters reduced to just half a day, down from seven days
• Improved personnel safety – Eliminated need for staff to venture into high voltage substation environment or travel in inclement weather
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