ElectSolve’s Meter Data Management System Helps City of Bay City, MI Improve Billing & Customer Services

July 2018

When Michigan’s City of Bay City (COBC) purchased an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in 2013, the City selected the meter data management system (MDM) from ElectSolve as central to the project. The addition of ElectSolve’s MDM system enables COBC to offer customers more accurate usage information, savings advice, and billing options.

COBC operates a municipal utility providing electric, water, sewer, and refuse collection services to its community of about 36,000 residents.

ElectSolve’s flagship product, uCentra™, is a proven, vendor-neutral integration platform for AMI, AMR, SCADA, CIS, OMS, EA/GIS, demand response, and distribution line management systems. With interfaces to over 50 of the most common vendor solutions used in public power, uCentra provides a 360-degree view of all operational data with centralized management, analysis, and reporting. ElectSolve is the official MDM partner of Hometown Connections, public power’s utility services organization.

According to James Kilburn, Assistant Director of Information Technology, COBC saw several advantages to combining the AMI and MDM systems:

  • COBC was looking to perform a mass meter change out to replace old and inaccurate water and electric meters.
  • COBC wanted to utilize technology to shift its workforce away from meter reading and into more productive positions, such as Utility Customer service, Water metering and DWP workers.
  • COBC was searching for a way to get daily reads to help customers avoid high bills, wasted water, and property damage from water leaks.
  • Because its billing system has limited functionality, COBC turned to the MDM to provide time-of-use data automatically eliminating the need to manually collect and calculate the data.

For the AMI/MDM project, COBC worked with a consultant to help determine its needs and evaluate potential vendors. “When COBC selected its new AMI system, our consultant helped us evaluate MDM vendors with experience augmenting the AMI system,” James Kilburn said. “We determined ElectSolve was best able to meet our needs.”

By working in conjunction with the AMI system, ElectSolve’s uCentra is providing COBC with many operational and customer service improvements. The AMI/MDM:

  • Gives COBC the ability to alert customers to leaks and high usage
  • Eliminates the need to send out employees to obtain rereads or final reads for meters
  • Allows more flexibility in the billing cycle as COBC reads each meter every day, not just once a month
  • Helps homeowners find problems with their electrical systems that could have resulted in house fires
  • Delivers more accurate billing
  • Provides customers with more information for evaluating their usage and determining what rate fits them best
  • Supports outage management efforts by helping determine the location and extent of outages

Recently, COBC conducted a rate study and having the MDM in place increased the accuracy of that study. Kilburn explained, “Billing systems typically process meter reads once per month but ElectSolve’s uCentra can manage hourly reads from all meters. For the rate study, we used the precise MDM data to compare the amount of electricity used with the amount purchased, which is critical as we are a reseller of electricity. We could not obtain this usage data via the billing system alone.”

Kilburn noted, “ElectSolve has been very easy to work with. Their employees are very knowledgeable and worked closely with us to create the MDM reporting structure to improve our billing procedures. ElectSolve provides several features that our billing system cannot, which allows us to give our customers more billing options. And they were instrumental in helping us manage the data during our mass meter change out project.”

Contact for More Information
James Kilburn
Assistant Director of Information Technology
City of Bay City, MI
(989) 894-8142
jkilburn@baycitymi.org

 

 

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