Florida utilities cooperative chooses Tait Communications DMR

Friday, 10 June, 2016 – Christchurch, New Zealand

Talquin Electric Cooperative has implemented a Tait Communications DMR Tier III radio network after a competitive bid process.

Talquin provides electricity, water and wastewater services to around 80,000 accounts across four counties in North Central Florida. With 190 staff, 110 vehicles and multiple substations across their coverage area, a reliable radio communications system is critical to providing excellent service across the territory and in all conditions.

General Manager Tracy Bensley says their old radio system's quality had degraded and their coverage had become limited after the switch to narrow band. They were looking for better service quality, more channels and the ability for their workers to contact dispatch from across the territory, which also has poor cell service. Tait was an obvious choice.

Mr. Bensley says: "Tait was actually a pretty easy selection for us. We had good presentations from the vendor and good information that came in. The durability of the radios was unquestionable, and we had some systems in the country that we could go and look at.

"I went to Kansas City and we got a really good feel for the system - we could see how functional it was and how well it worked with multiple base stations, similar to what we would have. So that was pretty easy for us to make a decision. We had several other cooperatives that had used Tait, and we had heard nothing but good things."

Talquin has around 200 radios to service their fleet including Tait TM9300 Mobiles for vehicles and Tait TP9300 Portables portable handhelds for working in the field. With the DMR Tier III network, Tait's Gridlink solution for Distribution Automation will also be available to Talquin.

With the system now accepted, Mr. Bensley expects it will have a positive impact on Talquin's operating costs and customer service. Using cell phones is expensive and unreliable in extreme weather conditions, but Mr. Bensley says tough radio towers allow the cooperative to retain radio activity, allowing for a swifter call-out response.

"We're hoping that with our new radio system working a little better, our guys will choose to use the radio rather than the cell. When storms come through you can lose cell service pretty quickly. And if our guys are already used to using radio rather than cell phones, it will be easier," says Mr. Bensley.

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