FlexNet system stands up to Mother Nature's worst blows
RALEIGH, N.C. – As the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season kicks off, Sensus and its utility customers are proving that an important line of defense against wind, storm surge and power outages can be found in a resilient, two-way communication network. Using FlexNet™ technology from Sensus, electric, water and gas utilities can collect and access real-time data from various smart sensors that provide a critical view of a utility's infrastructure. It's this access to system status before, during and after a storm that helps utilities restore services faster and avoid additional damage.
Randy Giberson, Water Superintendent in Stafford Township, New Jersey, put the Sensus FlexNet system to the test last October during the 1,000 mile wide Superstorm Sandy that caused more than $70 billion in damage.
"The day after the storm, my 18 man crew walked street to street surveying the damage. We discovered that boats, jet skis, cars, houses and debris had snapped off many outside showers and left a half-inch line just blowing water out of it," said Giberson.
After the visual inspection, Giberson used the Sensus FlexNet system to pinpoint leaks and determine where to send crews for repairs. "If there was no FlexNet system, we wouldn't know about a leak until the customer got an unusually high water bill."
The FlexNet utility network, which is based on open standards, is a point-to-multipoint communication system that's been deployed at more than 300 utilities in North America.
Giberson credits the Sensus FlexNet system with helping to curb additional damage from the storm. "I believe homes would probably be leaking today if we didn't have FlexNet because some people still haven’t returned to their property," he said.
The Borough of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, is forty miles north of where Sandy made landfall at 9:28 p.m. on Monday, October 29. The damage there, illustrated by the iconic image of Jet Star roller coaster sitting in the ocean, caused wide-spread power outages and flooding.
"Once we restored water service we realized we were still losing a high volume of water and we were told no gas, no electric for up to six months," said Brian Hoffnagle, Seaside Water Plant Operator.
Without back up power, the utility went door to door to shut off every water meter. "Had we been able to fire up our Sensus FlexNet system, which was under water, we would have been able to pinpoint leaks much faster," he added.
With Mother Nature continuing to disrupt our infrastructures, it's vital that utilities adopt resilient communication networks. "Think about flood, think about fire and think about blizzards. Make sure that you have back-up generation so that in a natural disaster, you have power and the technology to soften the blow," said Giberson.
For more information about building a resilient network, visit www.sensus.com/resilient.
Sensus is a leading utility infrastructure company offering smart meters, communication systems, software and services for the electric, gas, and water industries. Sensus technology helps utilities drive operational efficiency and customer engagement with applications that include advanced meter reading, data acquisition, demand response, distribution automation, home area networking and outdoor lighting control. Customers worldwide trust the innovation, quality and reliability of Sensus solutions for the intelligent use and conservation of energy and water. Learn more at www.sensus.com. To follow Twitter updates from Sensus, visit http://twitter.com/sensussmartgrid.
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