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Horizon Power's Advanced Metering Network Deployment with Itron

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 Horizon Power's Advanced Metering Network Deployment with Itron - IoT ONE Case Study
Technology Category
  • Networks & Connectivity - NFC
  • Sensors - Utility Meters
Applicable Industries
  • Electrical Grids
  • Telecommunications
Applicable Functions
  • Sales & Marketing
Use Cases
  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
  • Water Utility Management
  • Hardware Design & Engineering Services
The Challenge
Horizon Power, a government-owned utility company in Western Australia, was faced with a significant challenge when the traditional card-based prepayment meters they had been using to assist customers in remote communities manage their electricity costs stopped being manufactured. This was a critical issue as the utility company serves 100,000 residents and 10,000 businesses spread across a vast service territory of approximately 888,000 square miles. Additionally, Horizon Power had to adapt to a revised regulatory code of conduct for the supply of electricity to residential customers. The new regulations included restrictions on disconnection hours and a requirement to supply customers with data on their total energy consumption, as well as their average daily consumption and charges for the previous two years.
The Customer
About The Customer
Horizon Power is a vertically integrated government-owned utility serving 100,000 residents and 10,000 businesses in regional and remote parts of Western Australia. The utility has 47,000 customer connections spread across a vast service territory that spans 2.3 million square kilometres (approximately 888,000 square miles). The customers are a mix of residential and business entities, with a significant number of them residing in remote, rural communities. These customers have traditionally relied on card-based prepayment meters to manage their electricity costs and avoid accumulating debts.
The Solution
To address these challenges, Horizon Power selected Itron to deploy a multi-application, IPv6 network platform for an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program. This made Horizon Power the first distribution utility in Australia to pursue a non-mandated AMI deployment and a customer pre-payment program. Horizon Power also chose SmartGridCIS, a US-based company specializing in smart prepaid billing solutions, to provide all the functionality needed to manage the prepayment customers’ accounts. Horizon Power worked closely with the meter supplier Landis+Gyr to develop new meter firmware to provide the required prepayment functionality. The firmware allows Horizon Power to send commands to the meter to display the customer’s balance, and several other messages such as a low credit warnings and disconnection. The firmware also provides the capability for Horizon Power to convert the meter from prepayment to post-payment billing over the Itron meter network, eliminating the need for physical visits to reprogram the meter.
Operational Impact
  • The deployment of the advanced metering solution has significantly improved Horizon Power's operational efficiency. The new meters enable customers to choose prepayment or credit metering and to switch between the two solutions as they desire. This flexibility has not only improved customer satisfaction but also helped Horizon Power manage customer debt and keep customers connected. The success of the pilot program in the initial communities has paved the way for a broader rollout, with Horizon Power now in the process of replacing all the old prepayment meters in its service area as it deploys the AMI solution. The company is also exploring ways of providing the option of prepayment billing to other customer segments in the future.
Quantitative Benefit
  • Horizon Power has now deployed approximately 1,000 advanced prepayment meters to over thirty Aboriginal communities across Western Australia.
  • The new prepayment solution was piloted in 45 houses in one community, then seven communities in one area.
  • The prepayment solution has proven to be highly desirable, being selected by more than 90 percent of customers in the communities where it’s available.

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