Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Program: "Utility of the Future"
Tour:
Delmarva Power Control Center
Hosts: 
Steve Stressel (PE Sr. Supv Engr, Distribution Planning, Poorvi Patel (Engineer II, Distribution Planning,) and Ken Gates (PE Mgr, Interconnection & Arrangements)

Tours of the Equipment Preparation area and the Control Center were followed by a discussion of issues related to alternate sources of energy, what to expect in the near future, and some audience issues, such as much-publicized wind power proposals and the ground return issue. 

Naming of things: Pepco Holdings is the overall corporation name. Conectiv supplies the power and one of three sub-companies distributes the power to customers: Pepco, Delmarva, and Atlantic Electric. These distributor names are used due to customer familiarity with them. 

Toward the future: Delmarva is looking for more flexible ways to set up the distribution of energy in grids, so that energy can be delivered and received as the customer needs and wants. This includes ways to find the location of dropouts quicker, ways to meter customers and deliver power when the customer how and when the customer wants it. For example, the customer now pays an average power rate per month, but the cost of that energy depends on when it was delivered. There may be some options to charge based on when the energy was delivered. Also, appliances may be smart enough in the near future to be directed by the power company to turn on and off according to a customer schedule set up on the web. 

Another Delmarva initiative is to find a way to bring in the cheaper power available in the areas west of us. New transmission lines, using existing right of ways, are set to deliver power starting in about 2011-2012. One of these lines will run under the Chesapeake Bay. Laying this line may use a giant bottom plow that folds the line into a furrow as it is generated.  Some information on this may be found at www.powerpathway.com.

On the wind issue, Delmarva is trying to respond to a question – but what is the question?? If the question is “let’s find a way to use renewable resources,” Delmarva has just issued a request for proposals for options in renewable to find the most economically attractive options. If the question is “Let’s use wind power, hang the cost”, Delmarva is evaluating the use of wind power on land and at sea.

Also note that more information may be found at the www.Delmarva.com website. For example, power outage and work maps show the power situation.