AEP promotes energy saving with volt optimisation tech

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US utility American Electric Power (AEP) in Ohio partnered with smart grid solutions firm Utilidata to reduce its transmission and distribution losses.

In a press statement, AEP Ohio said it partnered with Utilidata under efforts to reduce its operational costs by lowering its distribution energy losses with the use of smart grid technologies.

The utility will use Utilidata’s Volt/VAR Optimisation technology AdaptiVolt to monitor some 160 energy distribution circuits to reduce energy losses during distribution of energy to some 119,000 customers in the company’s service territory.

The use of the technology is expected to save 235,390MW/h per annum –  equivalent to $210 million in energy bills over 15 years.

Julie Sloat, CEO of AEP Ohio, said: “This technology will provide real-time insights that allow us to improve both the quality and reliability of service for customers. We look forward to expanding this program and deploying the technology on additional circuits this year.

“This project builds upon our successful gridSMART demonstration project, which began in 2009, and will help our customers gain better control of energy use, save money, and reduce consumption.”

The news follows the selection of Utilidata’s technology by US utility firms Pacific Gas and Electric, Ameren Illinois, and Vectren. [National Grid partners to reduce distribution losses].

Smart meters, energy losses and grid reliability

As a result of the successful deployment of the first phase of its gridSMART programme in 2009, AEP Ohio filed a proposal with the Public Service Commission of Ohio to implement phase two of the project.

In early February, the utility firm secured regulatory approval to extend its smart grid programme.

Under the approved smart grid proposal, AEP Ohio will install some 894,000 smart meters in 31 Ohio communities within a period of four years, to ensure two-way communication with its customers and improve accuracy in energy billing.

The programme will increase the number of smart meters installed by AEP  in Ohio to 1 million and automated sensors to help the utility to quickly identify causes and locations of power outages.

 

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.