AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) is a two-way communication system to collect detailed metering information throughout a utility's service industry.
AMI is typically automated and allows real time, on-demand interrogations with metering endpoints. FERC defines AMI as “A metering system that records customer consumption hourly or more frequently and that provides for daily or more frequent transmittal of measurements over a communication network to a central collection point.”
A similar definition is offered on advanced metering by the DRAM Coalition: "A system that collects time-differentiated energy usage from advanced meters via a fixed network system, preferably two-way, on either an on-request or defined schedule basis. The system is capable of providing usage information to electricity customers, utilities and other parties on at least a daily basis and enables them to participate in and/or provide demand response products, services and programs. The system also supports additional features and functionality related to system operation and customer service, e.g. outage management, connect/disconnect, etc."
AMI requires requisite bandwidth to supply more than merely metering and power quality information. AMI systems need to have appropriate bandwidth and broadcast capabilities to allow for Demand Response/Load Management as well as Distribution Automation.