Cobb EMC Installs Smart Street Lighting Solution

Northwest metro Atlanta shines brightly every evening with 60,000 streetlights. Recently, however, an entire section of lights went out for one of Cobb Electric Membership Corporation’s (EMC) commercial members. Using the VantagePoint® Lighting Control solution from Sensus, a Xylem brand, the co-op discovered the issue and sent a crew to check out the situation before their customer could pick up the phone to report the outage.

(Image: Sensus)

An early adopter of the Sensus advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution seven years ago, the cooperative is now using its existing network to offer smart lighting services. Crews have already installed 1,100 smart lighting modules for some customers, including the lights that lead Friday night football fans to the Walton High School stadium, home of the Raiders, who went undefeated in the regular season.

“When I saw this module, the first thought that crossed my mind was that this device is as close as it can be to the Internet of Things,” said Cobb EMC’s Director of System Quality and Planning, Bhaji Dhillon. “The technology brings us information about the location of the fixture, the quality of light and system power outages.”

Cobb EMC, one of the nation’s largest electric cooperatives, plans to retrofit approximately 60,000 lights to LED in the next five years to include Sensus sensors. These smart sensors can be programmed to turn on whenever a storm rolls in or flash in the event of a public safety issue. If a light is out of service, Cobb personnel will be alerted right away.

During a recent storm, an alarm meter installed at a medical facility triggered in the co-op’s control room. They rolled a repair crew to the location where lightning had blown a phase fuse. The real-time alert functionality of the Sensus AMI solution and efficient repair by the co-op helped keep the equipment from overheating.

The FlexNet® system is part of the only AMI solution that communicates via a dedicated, FCC-licensed spectrum, ensuring secure and reliable data transmissions. The upgraded infrastructure allows Cobb EMC to effectively monitor and manage the distribution of electricity, automate meter reads and proactively detect outages.

Sensus VantagePoint Lighting Control is an intelligent solution that consists of a lighting control modulelighting control software and the FlexNet communication network. This technology enables smart public service providers to remotely monitor and control street and area lights. The module accurately measures energy consumption for each street light.

“We will have better metrics once all the lights start recording kilowatt hours for us,” said Dhillon. “It is going to improve data quality of energy usage by lights for our commercial and industrial customers.”

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