US utility announces distribution automation deadline


NV Energy is set to complete deployment of its distribution automation solution in 2019.

The solution will provide the utility with conservation voltage reduction and phase detection capabilities to improve customer services, the reliability of grid network and its management.

The rollout follows a successful pilot which began in 2016 in partnership with Sensus.

The pilot included the deployment of 10 base stations which use intelligent electronic devices to collect and analyse data regarding the operations of grid assets.

Data acquired can be used to save money and lower rates for customers by allowing the utility to operate devices in real time to improve reliability and efficiency.

Dan Zaccagnino, senior engineer, NV Energy, said: “We put together a business case and after reviewing power quality before and after the Distribution Capacitor Automation Project (DCAP), we determined that we could deliver an average saving of $1.75 million per year, which we transfer to our customers through a reduction in fuel and purchased power.”

NV Energy had since 2009 started an advanced metering infrastructure project to improve its energy billing through automation of meter reading and data processing.

The project included the deployment of the FlexNet Communication Network to provide connectivity to some 1.3 million smart electric meters.

“With a coverage area that includes mountains, deserts and cities like Las Vegas, we needed a versatile network that could communicate with meters across varied terrain.

“We believed the Sensus FlexNet system would provide us with a secure and reliable network to give us a clearer view of our customers’ usage, and that’s proven to be the case.

“We’re always trying to do things to improve the lives of our customers. That means proactively undertaking initiatives that will result in lower rates and more efficient service.”