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AEP Ohio files plan to broaden the company’s successful gridSMART® program

by on September 16, 2013

On Sept. 13, AEP Ohio filed a plan with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to broaden the company’s successful gridSMART® program to communities throughout its Ohio service territory.

Phase 2 of the gridSMART plan calls for the installation of three technologies that will benefit customers the most: Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI); Distribution Automation Circuit Reconfiguration (DACR); and Volt Var Optimization (VVO).2010ohiologoblue

These three proven technologies were implemented during the company’s gridSMART Demonstration Project, which was launched in 2009 in northeast central Ohio. The four-year pioneering campaign allowed AEP Ohio to test a host of smart grid programs and services to determine what smart grid offerings worked best for both customers and AEP Ohio.

Already, customers in the gridSMART Demonstration Project area have experienced the benefits of the installed technologies. These proven technologies provide customers with more accurate information and the ability to view their energy consumption, improved billing accuracy and enhanced reliability.

In addition, AEP Ohio has learned from recent significant weather events like the Derecho of 2012 and Super Storm Sandy that modernization of the distribution grid can help pinpoint damage more accurately, and ultimately support faster restoration times during future weather events.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

AEP Ohio is proposing to install AMI, also known as smart meters, in more than 31 communities throughout its service territory. The technology, using two-way communication capabilities, provides near real-time meter readings and the secure transfer of customers’ usage information to AEP Ohio for billing and operational purposes.

The technology improves billing, accuracy and eliminates the need for a meter reader to enter a customer’s property. AMI gives customers the tools and information needed to use electricity more efficiently. In addition, AEP Ohio will have the ability to quickly check whether service is available to a customer and verify that service has been restored following an interruption. AEP Ohio is working to integrate AMI with service restoration systems to be better equipped to detect power outage locations so repairs can begin quickly.

AMI provides environmental benefits as well. Because we no longer have to send meter readers out to a customer’s home or business, we estimate we will be able to eliminate 187,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide as a result of reducing 440,000 miles driven annually.

The company plans to install AMI in the following cities: Athens, Bucyrus, Cambridge, Canton, Chillicothe, Circleville, Columbus, Coshocton, East Liverpool, Findlay, Fostoria, Fremont, Gallipolis, Hillsboro, Ironton, Kenton, Lancaster, Lima, Marietta, Nelsonville, Newark, New Philadelphia, Portsmouth, Southpoint/Chesapeake, Steubenville, Tiffin, Upper Sandusky, Van Wert, Waverly, Wooster and Zanesville.

Distribution Automation Circuit Reconfiguration

Part of the plan presented to the PUCO includes the installation of distribution automation devices. AEP Ohio proposes to install the DACR technology on approximately 250 distribution circuits serving more than 330,000 customers. This equipment is designed to improve reliability by “self-healing” the distribution system through remote monitoring, coordination and operation. For customers, this means fewer outages and quicker restoration times. Results from the current gridSMART Demonstration Project indicate the Phase 2 implementation will provide up to a 30 percent reduction in customer minutes of interruption.

Volt Var Optimization

The plan also includes the installation of Volt Var Optimization on 80 distribution circuits serving nearly 119,000 customers. VVO achieves energy efficiency by better controlling and monitoring the voltage levels on a distribution circuit, reducing the energy consumption by customers on that circuit. AEP Ohio has demonstrated a two to three percent energy reduction benefit to the customers on VVO Circuits without any changes required from customers.

Project Timeline

Below is the approximate timeline for this project if approved by the PUCO:

  • PUCO filing and review, Sept.–Dec. 2013
  • Project engineering, Jan.–Dec. 2014
  • AMI, VVO and DACR installations, January 2015 through 2017

Cost Recovery

AEP Ohio is proposing to recover the costs of this project through a rider to customers’ bills. The costs for the average residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month are expected to average approximately $2.00 per month for the first five years.

Following regulatory review and approval, AEP Ohio anticipates the $290 million project will take four years to complete.

Next Steps

Community leaders and the media will be invited to an informational event on September 30, 2013, to get a first-hand look at the smart grid technologies. The kick-off event will take place at the Center for Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus.

For information on the project, see the AEP Ohio website.

From → News From AEP

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