Powering the energy transformation: AMI integrates meteorological data with gas distribution networks


The automotive industry is an excellent example of how intertwined these new trends in product engineering are with the product itself.


In utility management, the genesis of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), also known as smart meters, has been a game-changer for gas distribution networks by enabling utilities to become more efficient, responsive, transparent, and resilient to future changes.

AMI is an integrated system of smart meters, communication networks, and data management systems that measure and record electricity, gas, or water consumption in real time, giving utility companies a better understanding of how energy is generated and consumed across the grid. These innovative edge computing devices improve data collection and communication by allowing utilities to conduct live monitoring and analysis of gas consumption to pinpoint and prevent leaks more accurately, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save money, time, and resources on maintenance and repairs. AMI also improves customer service by letting customers track their gas usage in near real-time.

AMI is considered the next generation of power measurement systems, representing a step-change advancement towards net-zero energy systems. Smart meters are replacing traditional manual reading meters and are expected to reach 93% of all metering systems in the US by 2027.

While smart meters have significantly enhanced the performance of gas distribution networks, the sophistication of these systems comes with several challenges. Notably, they are susceptible to environmental conditions. This is where the integration of meteorological data into the management of AMI-equipped gas distribution networks reveals its strategic importance as the modern-day weather meter for public utility companies.


AMI smart meter vulnerability

Despite their cutting-edge technology, smart meters are not immune to the impacts of severe weather conditions. For example, high-humidity environments, particularly those with persistent fog, can lead to moisture ingress in these digital systems. This disrupts their functionality and can shorten their lifespan, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

Considering that each smart meter can cost more than $1,400 to replace, the financial implications of not addressing AMI smart meter vulnerability are significant and compounding.


The power of predictive analytics for AMI networks

Integrating meteorological data with the operational data of AMI-equipped gas distribution networks allows utilities to harness the power of predictive analytics. By overlaying real-time and forecasted weather conditions—such as fog and high humidity—onto the geographical layout of their gas distribution networks, utilities can identify areas where their infrastructure is most at risk.

Predictive analytics for AMI networks aids utilities in transitioning from reactive to proactive management. They can schedule preventative inspections and maintenance by predicting the potential impact of specific meteorological conditions on their smart meters. This foresight not only prevents the malfunction of these meters but also significantly reduces the need for emergency repairs or replacements.


Cost avoidance and operational efficiency

The economic rationale for AMI data integration with weather data is compelling. By preempting the environmental conditions that can cause damage to smart meters, utilities can avoid the steep costs associated with their replacement. Furthermore, this integration enhances operational efficiency by ensuring that maintenance efforts are targeted and timely, thus minimizing downtime, field services resources, and disruption to gas supply.


Enhancing customer satisfaction

The strategic approach of canopying meteorological data on AMI gas distribution networks enhances customer satisfaction beyond operational and financial benefits. Ensuring the reliability of gas supply, especially during adverse weather conditions, reinforces customer trust in the utility provider. Moreover, proactive communication about potential service impacts and maintenance efforts can further bolster customer relations.


Case study: Large West Coast gas utility

UST teamed up with a gas utility provider with more than 6 million smart meters deployed across the West Coast of the US. These meters provide detailed hourly gas usage data wirelessly uploaded four times daily. Smart meters produce a massive volume of data that must be available for analysis in near real-time for utilities to make punctual and accurate decisions.

UST IQ for AMI Analytics automated the data engineering pipeline from ingestion to insights. As a result, the utility's AMI business operations can spend less time managing the underlying IT infrastructure and focus more on critical decision-making. UST IQ for AMI Analytics allowed the utility's business operations to build new business rules and accommodate new or changing data sources without embarking on large-scale software engineering projects.

The customer can now view various meteorological data overlaid on a graphical representation of their gas distribution network to identify smart meters at risk from excessive moisture accumulating inside. Crews can be assigned to inspect the meters to ensure they are free of moisture build-up. This preventative maintenance has a significant ROI given the alternative: the meter failing and its subsequent (expensive) replacement.

The UST IQ for the AMI Analytics platform consumes large volumes of data and creates a consolidated, global view of real-time and historical data ready for on-demand analysis by business operations teams. This ensures the continuous availability of accurate information to those responsible for making rapid, critical, data-driven business decisions.



Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is increasingly important in powering today's energy systems. These smart meter edge computing devices provide real-time and historical views of energy generated and consumed across the grid, allowing utilities to be more efficient, responsive, transparent, and future-proofed. Consequently, AMI represents a substantial movement towards net-zero energy systems.

Canopying meteorological data over AMI-equipped gas distribution networks signifies a forward-thinking approach to utility management. It is an innovative example of how utilities can harness existing network overlays for a broad spectrum of smart city applications.

By superimposing real-time and forecasted weather conditions over the geographical layouts of their gas distribution networks, utilities can identify areas where their infrastructure is most vulnerable and predict the impact of particular weather hazards on their smart meters.

AMI gas distribution networks equipped with meteorological data can help utilities protect their infrastructure, optimize operations, and enhance service reliability. In doing so, they safeguard their financial resources and reinforce their commitment to delivering uninterrupted service to their customers. This synergy between technology and environmental data is not just about preventing the next outage or equipment failure; it's about redefining the standards of service and reliability in the energy industry.

Discover how UST IQ for AMI Analytics can help your utility business gain meaningful and measurable insights to make critical data-driven decisions and elevate customer satisfaction. Click here to learn more.