Meter technology provider Copper Labs has patented a technique for identifying outages from automated meter reading (AMR).
The capability is intended to offer a low cost option for utilities that use drive-by AMR to detect and manage outages without the requirement for upgrade to an automated metering infrastructure (AMI).
The feature, which is described in a patent, is in essence based on cloud-based signal detection analysis to detect meters that are not transmitting readings and from their GPS coordinates to determine a polygon defining the outage area.
“Effectively responding to and managing outages is critical for all utilities,” said Dan Forman, CEO of Copper Labs.
“Our goal is to give utility companies the tools they need to quickly identify and decrease the duration of power outages – regardless of the types of metering equipment they currently have in the field – while also empowering homeowners with timely and actionable insights.”
Outage detection has historically been one of the primary motivators for electric utilities to consider the retrofit of AMR systems to AMI.
With Copper Labs’ advanced technology, utility companies can now identify the exact location of outages and efficiently allocate resources for restoration without having to make this shift, the company says in a statement.
The new capability joins a growing collection of offerings for utilities, including a ‘neighbourhood-level detector’ announced earlier in the year, which is designed to ‘smarten’ residential meters at scale.
Copper Labs also is partnering with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory on a tool to harness meter datasets for outage detection and automated restoration. The technology is due to be tested at 20 rural locations.
Similarly the company has introduced an ‘add-on’ technology for water meters for water leak detection without the need for a full water AMI upgrade.