US utility AEP Ohio secured approval from the Public Service Utilities Commission to implement phase two of its gridSMART smart grid project.Under the approved smart grid proposal, AEP Ohio will install some 894,000 smart meters to ensure two-way communication with its customers and improve accuracy in energy billing.
The smart meters will be deployed to residential and commercial customers in 31 Ohio communities within a period of four years.
Pilot of smart grid proposal
In the first phase of the gridSMART programme, AEP Ohio installed some 132 smart meters which the utility firm is using to reduce the duration of power outages, through the provision of real-time data on the performance of the grid system.
The smart metering system helps consumers of AEP Ohio to improve their energy efficiency by having unlimited access to their energy consumption data. The first phase of the project was kicked off in 2009.
The completion of the second phase will bring the total number of smart meters installed by AEP in Ohio to 1 million.
The approved smart grid proposal allows AEP Ohio to increase the number of automated equipment and technologies including reclosers within its grid system.
The reclosers will be installed on 250 circuits to help AEP Ohio to quickly identify causes and locations of power outages within the distribution system.
The utility firm will install the Volt Var Optimisation technology on some 160 circuits to help with load control.
The utility claims that the Volt Var Optimisation technology will help improve consumers’ energy efficiency by 2 to 3% without customers changing their energy usage behaviour.
In the first phase of the project, AEP Ohio installed automated sensors on 70 distribution circuits to reduce outages and 17 circuits to ensure quality load control and improved efficiency. [Philadelphia secures utility assistance in energy sustainability].
Further to helping the utility firm to reduce its operational costs, Julie Sloat, CEO of AEP Ohio, said the project “… will give our customers information to better manage their energy use and save money, while enabling AEP Ohio to improve the quality and reliability of service for our customers.”
The company serves nearly 1.5 million customers in Gahanna, Ohio.