Evergy signs 20-year contract for private grid connectivity network

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Evergy, a provider of electricity to 1.6 million consumers in the US states of Missouri and Kansas, has signed a contract with communications firm Anterix to use the company’s spectrum in deploying a private LTE network to provide connectivity for grid devices.

Evergy will use the company’s 900MHZ broadband spectrum to support grid modernisation and smart grid programmes across its 28,130-square mile service territory.

The utility will move from its land mobile radio system to the new 900MHZ frequency which has been adopted by utilities including Ameren and San Diego Gas & Electric for optimal, secure and resilient grid connectivity, according to a statement.

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Other utilities testing the spectrum include Avangrid, NYPA, Tampa Electric, Southern Linc, Delmarva Power & Light Company, Xcel Energy and Dominion Energy as they seek to leverage private networks to secure data telemetry within distribution networks.

The deal also enables Evergy’s subsidiaries to use a single network, a move that would reduce operational expenses for the parent company, ensure a unified adoption of smart grid technologies and enhance the management of distributed smart grid devices through centralisation. Westar and Kansas City Power & Light, subsidiaries of Evergy that merged in 2018, will use the network.

Kevin Bryant, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Evergy, said: “Smart grid technologies have a growing importance for our grid modernization efforts as we continue to transform our operations to a focus on clean, safe and reliable energy.

“Today’s agreement with Anterix provides a key component of the communications foundation required to help advance these initiatives, which are not only important for increased safety and efficiency but are also crucial to maintain a resilient grid in the future.”

The new network is expected to enhance connectivity for smart meters and enable the utility to maximise its investments in advanced metering infrastructure. As a result, programmes such as Time of Use and other demand response mechanisms will be offered to consumers, enabling the utility to ensure the reliability of the grid and allowing consumers to reduce their energy usage and bills.