AT&T Offers Smart Meters with Pre-Paid Data Plans Directly to Utilities
When electricity and wireless connectivity combine, utility providers can really power up their operations. Smart grids have re-energized the electric industry, spurring innovative methods for tracking energy usage, reducing costs and boosting efficiency.
To help make the future even brighter for utilities, AT&T* is providing SmartSynch’s suite of smart grid products along with AT&T wireless data services on a single, affordable bill. What’s more, utility companies that buy their smart meters directly from AT&T can pre-pay up to ten years of machine-to-machine (M2M) data usage on those meters.
“Prepayment of 10 years of data usage gives electricity providers assurance around their data costs,” said Chris Hill, Vice President, Advanced Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions.
“We’re responding to the evolving needs of the utility industry by delivering a complete, affordable package of smart meters, software and cellular connectivity.”
AT&T’s latest smart grid offer includes:
- Wireless Connectivity, for two-way smart grid data communication between electric meters or routers and a utility’s office
- SmartSynch SmartMeter™, which monitors power usage and wirelessly communicates day-to-day energy data as well as outage information back to the utility company
- SmartSynch GridRouter™, which acts as a hub for smart grid data, allowing utilities to connect with any device over any network.
- Software that gives utilities the ability to automatically monitor millions of electric meters on a single, easy-to-use tool.
Through the combination of smart meters, wireless technology, sensors and software, utilities can closely track power grids and cut back on energy use when the availability of electricity is stretched to its limit. Consumers can also gain insight into their power consumption and, as a result, make more intelligent decisions about how they use energy.
Customers Feel the Power
AT&T and SmartSynch first announced their collaborative efforts on smart grid technology in March 2009. The two companies have successfully updated metering systems for a number of utility customers over the last few years. Building upon this relationship, SmartSynch has now licensed AT&T to sell its metering hardware and software directly to energy providers.
Texas-New Mexico Power first tried out the AT&T-SmartSynch solution soon after its launch. Since then, the Texas utility has been moving forward with replacing 240,000 electric meters with the SmartSynch SmartMeters, connected over AT&T’s wireless network.
“Outdated power systems can slow down both utilities and their customers,” said Neal Walker, President, Texas-New Mexico Power.
“We chose to work with AT&T and SmartSynch so that we could launch a smart grid strategy quickly and cost-effectively. Instead of laying out a significant investment to build our own communication network, we’ve connected our smart meters to AT&T’s highly secure and reliable wireless network.”