US utility news: National Grid, Eversource and PG&E

US utility news
US utility news: National Grid and Eversource are awaiting approval of their grid modernisation plans, while PG&E opens centre to improve grid stability

In US utility news, two electricity suppliers in the state of Massachusetts have this week asked the regulator to approve grid modernisation programmes.

National Grid and Eversource have submitted plans to the state Department of Public Utilities as part of the regulatory demand for every electric distribution company to submit a ten-year grid modernisation plan.

Publicly traded energy company Eversource plans to invest between US$67 million to US$120 million over a five-year period into smart grid technology.  

The average residential customer utility bill would increase between 20 and 40 cents a month.

British multinational National Grid, which operates in north-east America estimates its investment will be between US$225 million to US$830 million over five years and could add between 0.25% and 1% to a typical residential customer’s monthly electric bill, every year for five years.

US utility news – PG&E’s new grid centre

In other US utility news, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) opened a new facility this week on the West Coast that aims to increase “visualisation and awareness” of electricity activity in real time.

The US$40 million complex will monitor power operations for about 3.1 million PG&E customers in the Bay Area and Central Coast.

Known as the Concord, the complex is one of three electricity control centers for PG&E and will work in tandem with the utility’s smart meter system, explained director of PG&E’s business applications organisation Gary Cassilagio.

He said: “This facility will integrate seamlessly to our smart meter system.

“Our new electricity control centres are very scalable, so they can allow us to keep up with the increasing needs of the power grid as it becomes more complex.”

PG&E also believes it can shift resources quickly from one problem area to another with the new centers. That happened in the Central Valley in late 2014, when the new Fresno complex helped PG&E deploy quickly to a large wind event in Bakersfield.

“The quicker we are notified of an outage by our smart meter system, the quicker we can respond to an outage,” Cassilagio said.