Westar Energy taps Elster for Smart Grid deployment in Kansas

Source: Elster 

Elster has announced that Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR), the largest utility in Kansas, has selected Elster for its 48,000 meter SmartStar deployment. 

The Elster EnergyAxis® Smart Grid solution will enable Westar to conduct real-time monitoring of its electricity grid, allowing the utility to provide customers with additional insight into their daily energy consumption, improve service reliability and more quickly manage power outages. 

Westar selected Elster's EnergyAxis after a thorough technical evaluation of several Smart Grid solutions. EnergyAxis will be a key component of Westar's SmartStar project, a 48,000 Smart Meter deployment in Lawrence, Kansas, that is expected to be completed over the next three years. SmartStar Lawrence will enable Westar to modernize its grid and technology infrastructure for improved energy distribution and demand response. 

"Elster is proving to be the right partner for our Smart Grid program," said Jim Ludwig, executive vice president, public affairs and consumer services, Westar Energy. 

"The EnergyAxis Smart Grid solution provides the control and flexibility we required for our SmartStar Lawrence project, and allows us to realize savings through improved insight and management of our electric delivery system. Once we place a Smart Meter at a home or business, we also will have the ability to provide our customers with near real-time access to information that can be utilized to improve energy consumption practices, reduce energy costs and help us increase our overall operating efficiency," Ludwig added. 

With EnergyAxis, Westar will be able to more easily integrate renewable energy, electric vehicles and other emerging technologies onto its grid. For consumers, Westar plans to offer a suite of innovative products and services that will offer choices that can help reduce energy costs. 

Along with near real-time information available on the web, Westar also will offer convenience options such as text or email alerts for customer-determined energy use parameters. In addition, EnergyAxis provides Westar and its customers with service delivery improvements through automated meter reading and other field service automation to save time and utilize employees more efficiently. 

To help fund the SmartStar Lawrence Smart Grid project, Westar was awarded a $19 million Department of Energy (DOE) Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG). During the award submission process, Elster relied on its history with Westar and knowledge of the utility's infrastructure to help Westar respond to complex security and technology questions related to the SmartStar project. 

"Elster works hand-in-hand with leading electric utilities across the globe to implement Smart Grid solutions that improve energy efficiency and promote consumer participation in energy conservation," said Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive officer of Elster. 

"We were very impressed with the thorough technical and risk analysis done by Westar in its selection process and look forward to further developing our partnership with Westar as it begins to roll out the SmartStar project," Beresford-Wylie added. 

EnergyAxis, a field-proven Smart Grid solution with more than 3.5 million endpoints deployed with utilities across North America, enables utilities to: 

-- Realize operational efficiencies; 

-- Conserve environmental and economic resources by reducing the losses
in electricity, gas and water grids; 

-- Reduce outages, and improve outage response and repair time;
-- Improve customer service and consumer choice; 

-- Implement demand response programs that can conserve resources and
reduce costs, especially during periods of peak demand; 

-- Provide real-time information to end consumers to allow them to better
manage their energy consumption; and 

-- Detect and reduce non-technical losses.



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