Georgia Power finishes $109 million smart grid improvement project

Georgia Power customers are starting 2014 with increased reliability due to the recent completion of a statewide smart grid improvement project conducted through a multiyear Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The $109 million project, which includes $52.5 million in funds from the DOE and $56.5 million from the company, is part of a larger $165 million agreement between Southern Co. and the DOE under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) for improvements throughout the company's four-state service territory.

Through the project, Georgia Power has been able to create 73 self-healing networks made up of 174 feeders. Self-healing networks that can automatically isolate problems and restore power to unaffected areas have helped decrease service disruptions. Overall, the improvements have had a direct impact on customer reliability including faster recognition of outages and outage locations, improved restoration times when service is interrupted, increased efficiency of the grid and optimized grid operations.

Additionally, two key reliability measures, System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), have improved about 35.7 percent and 37 percent, respectively, for upgraded circuits through September 2013.

The project has helped Georgia Power defer the need for an additional 200 MW of generation and avoid 61,000 truck trips for service calls, totaling more than 635,000 saved miles, through September 2013. In addition, carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by more than 4,000 tons, including generation reduction, and nearly $3.5 million in costs for the company have been avoided.

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