Hawaiian Electric kicks off smart grid program

Hawaiian Electric Co. will soon install smart grid technologies for 5,200 customers on Oahu as part of its power grid modernization efforts. This is the first phase of a plan to develop smart grids across Oahu, in Maui County and on Hawaii Island by 2018.

Electric power customers in Moanalua Valley and portions of Pearl City, Diamond Head, Kaimuki, Kahala and Waikiki are part of this initial phase and are receiving information by mail about the program. These initial neighborhoods were chosen because of the diverse mix of customers and physical terrain.

Smart grid technology helps improve service by providing the capability for remote troubleshooting and faster response times during power outages.

Customers will also have access to a customized online Web portal, which will provide frequent updates about their energy usage to help them make informed decisions about better managing energy use and their electric bills.

Hawaiian Electric’s smart grid program calls for integrating a modern wireless communications network into the existing electric grid. The components will include wireless communications relays, sensors to improve outage detection, automated system controls to improve outage restoration, and advanced meters for customers in the implementation areas.

The smart grid communications infrastructure, including new meters, will be installed in the initial areas from mid-April to the end of July. There will be no additional charge for replacement of the meters. Customers do not need to be present when the meter is changed and they have the option to defer participation in this phase.

To provide additional long-term benefits, Hawaiian Electric is evaluating future applications, such as:

·      Fully automated detection of power outages

·      Integration of new technologies, such as energy storage, which can lead to more

·      Efficient use of renewable energy

·      Support for other energy saving technology, such as the continued increase of electric vehicles

The plan for full implementation will require Public Utilities Commission approval.

To help inform customers and answer their questions about smart grid technology, Hawaiian Electric is collaborating with other organizations, like the Blue Planet Foundation, to reach out to customers.

Smart grid technology has matured with more than 36 million smart meters installed across the country. Silver Spring Networks, a smart grid technology and solutions provider, is a strategic partner in this effort to modernize Hawai‘i’s electric systems.

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