AT&T is offering utilities that buy its smart-grid products a pre-pay option that lets them cover their machine-to-machine (M2M) data expenses up to 10...

AT&T is offering utilities that buy its smart-grid products a pre-pay option that lets them cover their machine-to-machine (M2M) data expenses up to 10 years in advance.

The option will help utility companies by letting them know in advance exactly what their smart-grid-related data costs are, according to AT&T.

AT&T offers its wireless data services in conjunction with smart-grid offerings from SmartSynch, which has also just begun working with Consumers Energy to provide cellular-based communication for that utility’s rollout of advanced electricity meters.

Prepayment of 10 years of data usage gives electricity providers assurance around their data costs,” said Chris Hill, vice president of advanced mobility solutions for AT&T Business Solutions.

AT&T smart-grid offering includes:

  • Wireless connectivity for two-way data communication between electric meters or routers and a utility’s office;
  • Smart meters from SmartSynch that monitor power consumption and wirelessly communicate day-to-day energy data, as well as outage information, back to the utility company;
  • SmartSynch’s GridRouter, which acts as a hub for smart-grid data, allowing utilities to connect with any device over any network;
  • Software for automatically monitor millions of electric meters using a single tool.

AT&T and SmartSynch first began collaborating on smart-grid technology in March 2009. SmartSynch has now licensed AT&T to sell its metering hardware and software directly to energy providers.

Texas-New Mexico Power was one of the first utilities to try the joint solution and is currently working to replace 240,000 electric meters SmartSynch meters and AT&T connectivity.

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