The pilot developed in partnership with customers, the city of Worcester and other key parties in a new way that drew heavily on their pooled knowledge and creative energy.
The pilot will offer participating customers greater choice in how they use energy as well as new technologies that will increase electric system reliability so that problems on the system, such as power outages during storm events, can be identified and fixed more quickly. While preliminary preparations are underway, and much work remains to be done, full pilot launch is expected within the next year.
A key feature for the pilot is the installation of the latest technology on the grid to improve reliability and system responsiveness, which includes testing remote power outage sensors that enable crews to be dispatched directly to the source of the problem and restore power more quickly; systems that better identify which customers are affected during storms, thereby improving restoration times.
The pilot calls for installation of advanced metering systems that provide the very latest in technology and security. Early installation of about 5,000 advanced meters is nearly complete, helping to obtain baseline energy data, test communications systems and adjust the equipment before full deployment.
Under the pilot, the company also will be testing full integration of renewable resources, electric vehicle charging stations and connecting energy storage to existing renewable projects across the city.
One of the most important elements of the pilot is customer choice. The company plans to communicate information about specific pilot offerings to customers. In turn, customers will be able choose their level of involvement and, according to what options they select, can receive information about their energy use from various sources such as on-line applications, including cell phone and smart phone apps. New dynamic pricing options will be available to help customers save energy and money at different times of day.
The pilot is projected to cost approximately $44 million. While the pilot officially began with the DPU approval, final technology and vendor selection is currently under way. Design and communication materials will be developed in the coming months.