EPB Says Smart Grid Paying Off Handsomely For Customers

Friday, January 18, 2013

EPB officials said Friday that its Smart Grid is paying off in spades for customers.

David Wade said in two recent incidents, the sophisticated grid that was installed thanks to a $111.6 million federal grant saved the day.

He said during a fierce noon windstorm this week there were downed lines that briefly put 3,500 customers offline. But he said were it not for the Smart Grid, another 8,000 would have lost power.

Mr. Wade noted that is a 70-percent success rate.

Also, he said on Monday a large tree fell on Pine Ridge Road and downed a 46,000-volt line that serves three substations and 11,258 customers.

Mr. Wade said the Smart Grid went to work redirecting power supplies and saved over 10,000 customers from losing electricity.

On the remaining customers, he said a dispatcher was able to remotely fix the problem.

In the old days, he said, "It would have taken quite a while to locate and fix all the 38 switches that were involved."

Harold DePriest, EPB president, said it is estimated that the Smart Grid has a $50 million-$60 million benefit annually in saving customers from losing power and productivity.

"That's large," he said.

Joe Ferguson, EPB board chairman, said, "That's why we call it the Smart Grid."

He added, "The investment is paying off handsomely."

Greg Eaves, EPB finance director, said $105.8 million of the grant amount has been spent. He said EPB plans to apply for the remainder of the grant funding through an extension of the deadline.

"We won't leave any money on the table," he said.

Mr. DePriest said a group of engineers from Nippon T&T (Japanese equivalent of AT&T) is coming to the EPB to study the Smart Grid.

Also, Harvard Business School researchers are planning a case study of EPB.


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