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National Grid in Worcester, Massachusetts has helped residents save $1.8m on electric bills with Bridge Energy Group as its Smart Energy Solutions programme partner.Consulting and systems integration company Bridge Energy Group has provided National Grid with leadership, management, domain expertise and systems integration to support the delivery of its smart grid pilot.

According to a release, 11,000 Worcester residents have to date realised significant cost savings on their electric bills, reducing average customer usage during peak periods of energy demand by 7.2% (from 3.9% in 2015) with a 98% retention rate. Participating customers saved a total of 1,573 megawatt-hours – enough to power more than 100 homes for a year.

The release adds that the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) approved National Grid’s $44 million Smart Energy Solutions programme in 2012, selecting Bridge Energy that same year to provide leadership in programme governance and management, business operational readiness, solution architecture and design, testing and management of the 12 vendors.

In addition, the consulting group "ensured the timely and accurate accounting of project progress and financials and supported the development, training and implementation of new customer programs and business processes."

In 2016, National Grid filed for a two-year extension of the Smart Energy Solutions programme in Worcester and the DPU has approved an interim extension.

Smart energy solutions

The utility company said that a key feature for National Grid’s Smart Energy Solutions programme is the installation of the latest technology, including real-time systems that provide insights that enable improvements to reliability and electricity system performance. These investments have enhanced the reliability of the electricity distribution system in the programme area by 10%.

Special equipment and switches that report and automatically isolate power outages minimized the impact for customers, reducing the number of minutes customers were interrupted by 194,000 minutes over the two-year period. Bridge Energy was also said to have played a vital role in this solution’s architecture and design, programme
management, testing and transition to operations.

Michelle Fay, VP of Consulting Services, Bridge Energy Group said: “As we approach the hot summer months, it is imperative that electricity providers continually offer reliable power at affordable prices to their customers. Now more than ever, customers also play a vital role in ensuring the achievement of that goal.

“The SES programme gives National Grid an opportunity to assess new energy technologies and resources, that give customers better information, savings and control over how they consume energy, helping to create a more cost-effective, modern grid.”

National Grid was able to accomplish such goals as:

  • Meeting the requirements of the Green Communities Act, which requires utilities in Mass. to utilize time-of-use or hourly pricing for commodity service for a minimum of 0.25% of the company’s customers.
  • Achieving 5% peak and average load reduction.
  • Providing customers more control to effectively manage their energy usage through new rates and technology options.
  • Improving reliability with fewer customers out for a shorter duration of time, as well as operational efficiency and grid thermal performance.
  • Reducing System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) for both typical and major event days.
  • Identifying technology and rate structures that resonate with their diverse customer needs.