Are there any RFID vendors that have previous experience or use cases with asset identification (for management purposes) within an electric power utility (generation, transmission and distribution)?
Shipcom Wireless undertook a deployment for Sempra Energy in 2007. Sempra, which consists of Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric, provides service to business and residential customers within a 25,000-square-mile region. The company employed passive RFID tags to track gas meters being received from Elster American Meter, a manufacturer in Nebraska City, Neb. The system tracks the meters as they arrive at Sempra’s warehouse in Pico Rivera, Calif., near Los Angeles, and then are transported to various distribution depots and ultimately placed at customers’ sites. RFID helped Sempra Energy to save money by reducing the number of gas meters unaccounted for due to installations being recorded either mistakenly or not at all (see Sempra Finds RFID Energizing Its Revenue).
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), a California utility company, worked with the PolyGAIT lab at California Polytechnic Institute in 2008. PG&E maintains a close relationship with Cal Poly, partnering with the college for engineering services, for example. PG&E used RFID in the warehouse of its plant in Diablo Canyon to track some of the 70,000 pieces of back-up equipment for the two nuclear reactors (see Diablo Canyon Power Site Uses RFID to Track Items).
And Cox Industries attaches passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags to wooden utility poles after they are manufactured at its Blackstone, Va., facility, in order to track their location and status within the yard in which they are stored and then loaded onto trucks bound for utility companies across the Eastern Seaboard. The Department of Public Utilities’ Electric Division, in the city of Orangeburg, S.C., applies similar tags to 20,000 poles, for use by its inspectors and maintenance personnel. Both solutions are provided by Sustainable Management Systems (see RFID Tracks Wooden Utility Poles at the Factory and in the Field).
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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