Managed services and consulting giant Accenture is to manage the rollout of some two million smart meters being carried out in Pennsylvania by utility group FirstEnergy.
The deployment is taking place across four of FirstEnergy’s (Akron, OH, USA) utility businesses – Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power and West Penn Power – and represents one of the largest rollouts of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in North America.
FirstEnergy has already signed up Itron (Liberty Lake, WA, USA) as a smart-meter supplier and Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA) to work on the electricity distribution system, having been given the go-ahead to proceed with the smart-grid deployment by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
In a statement, Accenture (Dublin, Ireland) said its smart grid services business would provide advice to FirstEnergy on the management of the AMI program, providing services in areas including program management, business process design and change impact.
It will also contribute advice on communications, vendor management, solution architecture, testing and smart metering network operations.
Clearly, Accenture will be heavily involved in the work being carried out by Itron and Cisco.
FirstEnergy says the new AMI platform will deliver major operational efficiencies and support new customer service programs.
It also expects to gain better insight into operational issues through analysis of real-time data generated by the smart-grid infrastructure.
“Smart meters will ultimately create a two-way communication between us and our customers that will help us better understand their energy needs, improve our service, and balance supply and demand more efficiently,” said John Dargie from FirstEnergy.
Accenture says its research indicates that utilities rolling out smart metering solutions have already been able to improve reliability, lower their cost of operations and introduce new customer services.