In the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) third annual smart grid report, the utility details their progress through smart grid investments in delivering a reliable service to their customers. Chris Johns, President of PG&E said, ‘The electric grid is the key enabler for clean energy innovation now and in the years to come. We are focused on building the ‘Grid of Things’ – Smart Grid technologies that will help our customers take advantage of solar generation, electric vehicles and home energy management technologies. These new technologies will not only help us continue to provide service that is safe, reliable, affordable and clean today, but also pave the road to the smart energy economy of the future.’

PG&E’s employment of smart grid technologies and programmes have enabled the utility restore power to customers in a 24 hour turnaround time. It’s installation of intelligent switch technology has reduced the outage time by re-routing power flows. Outage time has decreased from hours to minutes and through its ‘self-healing’ grid technology has prevented 40 million customer outage minutes.

The utility has introduced additional initiatives including its outage detection programme, enabling the monitoring of individual smart meters to ensure that power has been restored and improves the logistical efficiency of utility crews when power outages occur. PG&E’s smart grid investments and plans make provision for an increasing amount of renewables, specifically solar energy to be integrated into the grid. Its plans also include a Demand Response Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Pilot program using PEV batteries to provide services to increase grid stabilisation.

PRNewswire reports that, ‘In the coming years, PG&E will continue to roll out Smart Grid technologies that will enhance grid safety, improve service and reliability, lower customer costs, and incorporate more renewable and energy storage onto the grid.’