For the past 15 years, we have relied on our Hunt Turtle automated meter reading (AMR) system to gather meter reads from our various substations throughout MEC’s service territory. The system has served MEC and its members reliably over this period. In 2014, we received notification from the manufacturer of the Turtle system that they would phase out support of the turtle system. As a result, MEC researched a number of options for a replacement system. MEC chose the TWACS (Two Way Automated Communication System) to replace the turtle system for a number of reasons:
- Same Technology. TWACS is a powerline carrier just like our current Turtle system which means all meter reads are sent from a member’s meter back to the substation over the same powerline carrying the electric ty to the meter. This is very different from a radio frequency RF system which send data out over the air using radio waves. We opted not to go with an RF system for several reasons including security, cost and reliability.
Our confidence in the reliability of powerline carrier technology, which we have relied on for a decade and a half made the decision to continue with a powerline carrier and easy choice.
- Reliability of reads. Of the options we weighed, the TWACS system offered the most reliable read rate. Our Turtle system was a reliable work horse with respect to read reliability and the TWACS system is even more reliable.
- Widely utilized. TWACS is the most widely adopted AMR system in our area. Many cooperatives in Montana and Idaho have either completed or are in the process of completing a conversion from Turtle to TWACS.
This multi-year project was launched in the spring of 2015 and should wrap up in late 2017 or early 2018.