Member Spotlight: Alameda Municipal Power

About Alameda Municipal Power
Since 1887, Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) has provided safe, reliable energy to Alameda’s residents and businesses. AMP is proud to serve more than 34,000 customers at rates that average 16 percent below neighboring communities.

The community-owned utility is ranked in the top quartile in the western United States for electric reliability. As a result of their work to keep the lights on, Alameda experiences fewer power outages than in neighboring cities.

Back in the 1980s, AMP was a leader in investing heavily in renewable power. By the early 2000s, the utility’s electricity mix had grown to comprise more than 60 percent renewables, such as geothermal, landfill gas and wind facilities.

A Small Utility with a Long History
In Alameda, a small island in the San Francisco Bay, the electric grid has served the community well for more than a century. But the time has come for Alameda Municipal Power, the community’s 130-year-old electric utility, to have a modernized system capable of meeting 21st century demands for real-time data and energy sources like solar, battery storage and electric vehicles. The utility also wanted to meet customers’ demands for mobile options and new online capabilities.

It Was Time to Get Smart
AMP’s new smart-technology program, Energy inView, combines the launch of robust customer tools with the installation of the new meters. They’re saying farewell to the old analog meters and prepping for new business processes based on the wealth of data that smart meters provide. For the Energy inView program, AMP chose to work with Harris MeterSense for their meter data management system; Landis+Gyr Technology Inc. for the meters and head-end system; and Smart Utility Systems for the online portal.

The new online features, which will be available in the fall, will give customers more choices. AMP is moving from no mobile offerings to the launch of tools that will allow customers to pay their electric bill from any device, anywhere and at any time. Customers will be able to sign up for text alerts on how much energy they’re using or when their bill is due. And Alameda Municipal Power is excited to bring their customers the option to use the new tools to manage their energy use for every hour of the day.

Huge Internal Benefits
There are huge benefits for the utility internally, too. They’re replacing the old payment system with a new online portal that brings usage data and billing together, making business processes much more efficient. The new data capabilities will help AMP with ratemaking and possible options such as time-of-use rates. They’ll also be able to do remote connects and disconnects, and save additional truck trips.

The new upgrades bring opportunities for revenue recovery, as well. AMP began upgrading customer meters in April 2017 and will continue the installation work through December 2017. Since April, the utility has already found two cases of theft of service. They now have the data to identify theft in a much more targeted way.

AMP is proud that they have been able to pay for the Energy inView program in an innovative way, without customer rate increases. The utility has funding set aside that it earned from the short-term sale of California renewable energy credits. These funds, which are used for many of their projects, make up the majority of the funding for the Energy inView program.

Looking Toward the Future
Enhancing their business processes and overhauling older systems means that AMP will be able to thrive now and in the future. Updating their technology opens up new doors for AMP to consider potential programs focused on home energy management systems, solar, battery storage and electric vehicles. While AMP is still proud of their 130-year past, now the utility also looks forward to the future.

For more information about this SGCC member, visit their website or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

In 2017, SGCC will be recognizing a member monthly, providing an organizational profile and highlighting the member’s accomplishments and output in the smart grid space. Order of recognition is random and all members will receive a spotlight.