AT&T & Cooper Power Systems To Offer Wireless Smart Grid Sensors

June 24, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

AT&T announced that it has entered into an agreement with Cooper Power Systems, a division of Cooper Industries, Ltd., to jointly market and sell to utility companies smart grid sensor devices that are certified on AT&T’s wireless data network. According to AT&T, utilities can now receive real-time system performance data to efficiently operate their electric grids, reduce the need for on-site inspections, and identify and solve problems that could cause outages or increase system energy losses.

The announcement is the latest expansion of AT&T’s efforts with smart grid technology in the M2M (machine to machine) space to use wireless technology to streamline business processes and provide real-time monitoring of energy assets. AT&T will co-sell two products with Cooper Power Systems under this agreement: OutageAdvisor™ and VARAdvisor™.

"AT&T continues to focus its efforts in building out a robust set of smart grid capabilities for the global utility industry. By offering Cooper Power Systems’ smart grid sensors, we can now provide businesses the ability to monitor their distribution network in real-time," said Chris Hill, Vice President, Mobility Product Management, AT&T Business Solutions. "AT&T’s suite of M2M pricing plans designed specifically for the advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) market, nationwide coverage, and dedicated M2M platform makes these wireless grid monitoring solutions an economical, secure, and rapidly deployable choice for utilities."

AT&T will offer Cooper Power Systems’ OutageAdvisor solution, which provides utilities with a reliable means to locate and isolate problems on electricity delivery lines such as faults, and communicate a permanent fault event within the system. By transmitting the information in real-time over the AT&T wireless network, the solution reduces the costly and time consuming fault-chasing methods that stress system components exposed to fault currents, as well as reduces the likelihood of an outage.

AT&T will also offer Cooper Power Systems’ VARAdvisor, a low cost sensor alternative to manual inspection of equipment that controls the voltage supplied to consumers, which helps to reduce costly and time consuming on-site inspections. For utility companies, the VARAdvisor helps to reduce operation and maintenance expense by monitoring capacitor bank fuse failures and reporting fuse failures over the AT&T wireless network. Early detection of failures improves online time for capacitor banks, keeping the grid operating efficiently.

"Our nation’s utilities are under intense pressure to provide the latest technologies to their customers in a cost effective way," stated Cooper Power Systems group president, Mike Stoessl. "This agreement brings together Cooper Power Systems and AT&T, each of which is committed to leading the advancement of smart grid technology. Working together we will be able to help utilities streamline the way in which they gather the critical information they need to serve their customers."