Many telecommunication towers and wireless communications infrastructure sites are located in remote areas and rely on backup power from diesel generators. It is important to monitor the fuel tanks for the generators to ensure that fuel levels are sufficient to sustain the tower during periods that they are off grid, and also monitor usage detecting sudden drops that could indicate fuel theft.
Many wireless communication infrastructure sites are provided by a third party too telecom and cellular data network providers as part of a service level agreement (SLA). These agreements generally contain strict usage and uptime details. This makes it vital for the tower operators to ensure they are online and operational in accordance with the SLA. Failure of the tower through loss of power caused by lack of fuel for the generator could be extremely costly.
Fuel theft is a major issue at many remote sites. The remote and isolated nature of the towers makes them easy targets for thieves and difficult to secure effectively. AT&T and Verizon towers in the US state of Maryland were recently subject to such thefts. Another case in Jamaica saw the company Digicel loose over 9,000 gallons of fuel per month, costing the company $3 million USD per month. Much of the theft at sites was internal and small quantities, enough for several vehicles. This can add up however over the course of the year, and over hundreds of sites.
There is also sometimes a large gap in refueling volume reports and the actual quantity of fuel delivered and the amount of fuel consumed at each site. One cell tower operator in Africa is noted as stating they were routinely picking up invoices that were 10% over what was actually delivered. On a site in Tanzania they had a diesel tank with capacity of 430 liters, yet were billed for 1,000 liters a month in two deliveries. After installing a remote monitoring solution it was discovered the site could operate a whole year on 1,000 liters of fuel as the grid power was reliable in that region. This means on a single site they saved 12,000 liters of fuel per year. This more than pays back the cost of the system installation.
AKCP provides a solution for remote cell tower monitoring. A specialist in environmental, security, video surveillance and access control for wireless communications infrastructures we can ensure the security of your telecom tower sites. Our uniquely integrated solution has provision for fuel level monitoring. Using our ultrasonic fuel level sensor mounted on the generator fuel tanks connected with our base monitoring units you can monitor the tank level, receive alerts of lower levels, graph fuel usage, check usage against generator output and alarm should a sudden drop in level be detected. With no moving parts the ultrasonic fuel level sensor is long lasting and reliable addition to your remote site monitoring system.