Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Program: Smart Grid/Smart Meter (AMI) Program at Conectiv

Matt Lenzini, Senior Project Manager at Pepco Holdings
                Tina Lloyd, Senior Project Manager responsible for the AMI program in Delaware

Points of interest:
There are three phases to the automated meter installation program; installation, activation, and revealing. 
The wireless electric meters are about 63% installed. The activation program (where the meter is read from the home office) for northern Delaware will be complete during January 2011. The data revealing program, where you can go on line to find data about your usage, is expected to be complete by June 2011. The system is wireless. There are 124 access points and 421 access repeaters in Delaware. Probably of less interest to EEs, there are also automated gas meters. There will be 310,000 electric and 127,000 gas meters. The electric meter and data network system is by Silver Spring Networks. 

Advantages of the new system are expected to be:

  • Better customer service, especially outage response. Envisioned is fast detection of an outage and finding if there is a route to restore service by finding a secondary route. This would restore service temporarily until service crews can find and fix the problem. 
  • Part of the justification is cost saving by elimination of meter readers. Speakers noted that preparing for re-assignment of personnel to eliminate need for layoffs has been active for several years. 
  • Customers will be able to participate in adjusting cost of electricity. Three plans were mentioned; one plan the customer can opt for is the current system of an average overall rate. Another plan would allow the customer to look at usage versus price versus time of day and try to put as much usage as possible into the lowest priced periods. Another plan would allow the supplier to restrict usage under certain conditions agreed to with the customer. Some in the audience reported that friends who had access to systems like this found that significant savings could be achieved. 
  • On the supplier side, this kind of system might allow the load to level out so that fewer load peaking generators and new distribution systems would be required. 
  • Smart home appliances are expected within the next 5 years. These appliances should allow the customer more options about how to use power, and allow interaction with the supplier through the wireless network. 
    One issue raised was that of data security and vulnerability to hackers; users would want their usage data kept private. The discussion was that this was being worked on.